Exclusive: Secretary Of Education Miguel Cardona Speaks On Black Education During HBCU Week

The Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, joined BLACK ENTERPRISE for an interview Tuesday during HBCU Week to discuss numerous topics concerning the Black Community and education from pre-K to college.

During the interview, Cardona highlighted the accomplishments of HBCU students and how the Biden administration and the Department of Education have supported HBCUs.

“We know HBCUs produce 70% of Black doctors in our country, 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black teachers, and 40% of Black engineers,” Cordona told BE.

“So we know they punch above their weight and we need to make sure we’re supporting our HBCUs.”

The Education Secretary added that since President Joe Biden has stepped into office, his administration has worked to give HBCUs the support they need, providing more than $7.3 billion for HBCUs, including $1.6 billion in loan forgiveness and infrastructure funding.

Cardona also mentioned the letter he and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sent to 16 governors across the U.S. urging them to address the more than $12 billion funding disparity between land-grant HBCUs and their non-HBCU peers in those states.

The 16 states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Cardona said he has not heard back from the governors, but closing that disparity would significantly boost HBCUs.

“Just think about the difference that would make for HBCUs, talk about parity, talk about having labs where students are able to learn different curriculums and universities would be able to compete for research grants that would keep their funding going,” said Cardona. “HBCUs have to do more with less and it’s time we called that out. When we were discussing it at the Department of Education I talked to Secretary Vilsack and I said this so what we’re thinking and asked for his co-sign he didn’t hesitate, he said ‘I’m in.'”

The Secretary also discussed the Supreme Court ending affirmative action in college admissions earlier this year, calling it “another bad decision” by the High Court that took the country a step back. However, he added that it will likely lead to an increase in HBCU enrollment for Black college students, reversing a downward trend from the mid-2010’s.

“Quite frankly, I think it’s going to result in an increase in HBCU enrollment because students are going to feel like they’re not welcome at other campuses,” Cardona said. “So we need to make sure we’re fighting for funding to address the increases they might see and making sure that they have the infrastructure necessary to have those scholars compete.”

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