Durbin Discusses COVID-19 Pandemic, For-Profit Colleges with Dr. Miguel Cardona, Biden Nominee for Secretary of Education

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Dr. Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Education. During their Zoom call, Durbin and Cardona discussed how teacher shortages in Illinois and around the country have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and how Durbin’s RETAIN Act would incentivize teacher retention by providing a fully refundable tax credit for teachers, paraprofessionals, mental health providers, and school leaders in Title I schools and educators, program providers, and program directors in early childhood education settings. 

Durbin also asked Cardona how he plans to aggressively and forcefully oversee for-profit colleges, which prey on low-income, first generation, students of color, and veterans. Durbin led the Congressional effort to overturn the DeVos Borrower Defense rule, which prevented student borrowers from having their federal student loan debt discharged by the Department. 

“The Department of Education was a shell of itself under the leadership of Betsy DeVos, and it was great to hear a renewed vision for the Department from Dr. Cardona today. There is much to do to help the students and teachers of America succeed, especially when it comes to protecting them from the coronavirus and working to get our schools back up and running safely. The pandemic has put into sharp focus the shortcomings of the American education system and what we must fix, including hiring and retaining talented educators in underserved communities across the country. I promised to work with Dr. Cardona to achieve these goals and move the agency forward from the previous Administration’s failures,” Durbin said.

A photo of Durbin’s Zoom call is available here.