CBS Mornings had quite the 8:00 a.m. Eastern hour peddling Biden administration propaganda as, prior to their absurd segment fawning over Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, the show brought in Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for just over six minutes of softballs from the left on reopened schools, student loans, Florida’s parental rights bill, and what’s needed to fill a dispiriting teacher shortage.
First up was the mental health and stunted learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. Co-host and Democratic Party donor Gayle King lamented “the impact of this pandemic on the mental health and academic performance of students” with a study finding grade school students ended last school year “five months behind in math and four months behind on reading.”
Instead of probe whether the lockdowns and other restrictions contributed to it, King merely asked: “What needs to be done, what can be done, what should be done about students' mental health? Parents are very concerned about this.”
Cardona used a long runway to tout an Education Department “guidance last year on how to support students as they come back in” and $130 million from the American Rescue Plan to bolster educators and make sure mental health of students is “the foundation” of post-COVID schools.
The second section involved the table hitting him from the left on student loans, including King wondering why President Biden can’t just “forgive” more debt and then co-host Tony Dokoupil citing pleas from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Fill-in co-host Vladimir Duthiers then brought up what liberals have (falsely) dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill: “You called it hateful. Does the department of education plan to take any action against this law? And I know you've spoken to some parents about it. What did they tell you?”
Speaking in nauseating fashion, Cardona said he “had a moving, very emotional conversation with students, parents, educators from Florida and I think the words of the students are most impactful.”
Citing a high school senior who called the bill “pure hatred” and wished they had learned about sex when they were in preschool because that’s when “he knew he was different,” Cardona partnered that with a parent who claimed support for the bill means you support making “children...a pawn in...political games.”
Without pushback, Cardona added that “this is about protecting all students” against “bullies” (e.g. Republicans and Governor Ron DeSantis) who aren’t willing to let students “be who they are.”
Pressed by Duthiers on “what can you do,” Cardona said the federal government is and will be “lifting up their voices” and ready to file lawsuits because “it's unacceptable to — to bully, marginalize students” who “need more mental health support.”
The final topic was genuinely important in that there’s a deficit in the profession, but what was comical and received no pushback on was Cardona’s insistence that teachers need a seat “at the table to talk about what schools should look like” (as if they didn’t currently) and that their “working conditions” need improved.
For anyone living under a rock, the Biden campaign and White House has been avowed supporters and beholden to teachers unions, so it’s a farce to claim schools — which were given billions in early 2021 — still need revamping to function.
To see the relevant CBS transcript from March 18, click “expand.”
March 18, 2022
7:52 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Coming Up; Education Secretary Miguel Cardona]
GAYLE KING: Coming up only on CBS Mornings, we’ll talk with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
8:01 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Pandemic’s Impact on Kids; Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Schools Getting Back to Normal]
KING: We're going to begin this hour with the continuing concerns about the impact of this pandemic on the mental health and academic performance of students. We're all thinking about that. A survey by McKinsey and Company found that by the end of the school year last year, students between kindergarten through 12th grade were on average — think about this — five months behind in math and four months behind on reading. Joining us now is Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for an interview you'll see only on CBS Mornings. Good morning, Mr. Secretary. It’s nice to see you in person. We only see you from here up.
MIGUEL CARDONA: I know, I know. Good morning. Great to be here.
KING: You're a real boy. It's nice to have you here at the table. But let's pick up that — pick up about students' mental health. What needs to be done, what can be done, what should be done about students' mental health? Parents are very concerned about this.
CARDONA: They are concerned.
KING: Of all ages.
CARDONA: A lot more has to be done, right? You know, at the department, we — we put out a first of its kind guidance last year on how to support students as they come back in. You know, the American Rescue Plan provided $130 million, and we prioritize ensuring that students and families have access to better mental health support. We've seen examples of that across the country. I have to say, educators are continuing to impress me, whether providing mental health supports in schools, after-school programming. But I think it's critical that in this next phase of recovery, where we are, our schools are open. As we're talking about recovery, we have to make sure that the foundation of this recovery is the mental health supports that our students need.
KING: I mean, I saw a great story this morning about a teacher who just takes her kids one by one and walks them around the building and allows them to talk. Can we go to student loans? We've had many — many older students reach out to us about forgiving student loan debt and I think the number — student loan debt — Americans owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loans. There’s been talk about forgiving student loan debt. Where does the Biden administration stand on that now?
CARDONA: Yeah. We're — we’re definitely since day one making sure that we put borrowers and students at the center of conversations. In just one year, President Biden has forgiven over $17 billion already.
KING: But couldn't he take action now and forgive it?
CARDONA: You know, we're having those conversations now. It's certainly something that — where we have the ability to address where colleges might have taken advantage or borrow — loan servicers have taken advantage of borrowers, we're releasing and discharging those debts. And we’re going to continue the conversations about overall broad debt relief. But I don't want to — I think the culture in our administration and in the department is one of putting students first. That's why the public service loan forgiveness program, which was set up over ten years ago, didn't work. And in one year we got it going. Got over 700,000 people further along in relief than they were before, so we're proud of that.
TONY DOKOUPIL: Yeah. Senator Elizabeth Warren was here and she said the Biden administration has the power to, with the stroke of a pen, erase federal student loans. It sounds like you want to do that but you don't want to get ahead of your boss.
CARDONA: No, I mean, the reality is it’s — we also want to make sure that our colleagues on the Hill continue to fight for — for that, as well. And we know in the administration we have a responsibility to put our students first. We think that the higher education system needs work. We think the loan process needs work. We're working on it to make sure that the system doesn't go back to where we were, too. So, in five years from now, we don't want to be in the same position we're in. So, loan forgiveness is one thing, but fixing the broken system is something that we've been working on, as well.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS: And, Mr. Secretary, you've been very outspoken about Florida's “Don't Say Gay” bill. You called it hateful. Does the department of education plan to take any action against this law? And I know you've spoken to some parents about it. What did they tell you?
CARDONA: You know, yesterday I had a moving, very emotional conversation with students, parents, educators from Florida and I think the words of the students are most impactful. I had a 12th grader who shared that he knew he was different since he was five. He said, this is pure hatred. I had a parent saying, please don't use my children as a pawn in your political games. So for me, this is about protecting all students. I feel frustrated. You know, across the world we see — we know we don't like bullies, right? But yet, right in our own backyard it's happening. There are over 12 states that are passing or trying to pass legislation like this. We need to protect our students. We need to protect our students including our LGBTQ students —
DUTHIERS: So, what can you do?
CARDONA: — and educators.
DUTHIERS: What can you do?
CARDONA: What we're doing is lifting up their voices. We're ensuring that the Office of Civil Rights is — is ready if complaints come forward in the implementation of this. But we're sending the message that it's unacceptable to — to bully, marginalize students already. We talk about mental health, right? Students who are gay or transgender are — need — need more mental health support and it's really important that while we're providing those supports, we're also not sending them to an environment where they're feeling marginalized or they can't be who they are.
DOKOUPIL: Gayle mentioned teachers. Teachers are something else we need. My mom’s a retired school teacher. My aunt’s a retired school teacher
KING: My sister’s a teacher.
DUTHIERS: My brother’s a teacher.
KING: Everybody —
DUTHIERS: Everybody here has a teacher.
KING: — here has a teacher in the family.
DUTHIERS: And remembers teachers who’ve impacted their lives.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill; Education Secretary Cardona on the Controversial Bill]
DOKOUPIL: And I've met teachers who have left the profession because they can't cut it in terms of the pay. It just doesn't work for them and we heard so many teachers left during the pandemic. There's a major hole in the public education system. What do you say to young people today thinking about that career? How do you get good people into the profession?
CARDONA: You know, this is the most impactful — look, all of you said with smiles on your faces.
CARDONA: This person — listen, we're here because of a teacher. And —
KING: That's right —
CARDONA: — it's our responsibility to lift the profession. And as secretary of education, I'm taking that very seriously. We need to increase teacher salaries to make it competitive. We need to make sure that the working conditions are conducive to — to growth, professional growth, personal growth. The days of teachers missing three to four hours of their own family time to correct papers, we need to revisit that. The day of teachers paying out of their own pocket —
KING: Using their own money.
CARDONA: — for basic supplies —
DUTHIERS: Supplies. Yeah, basically supplies.
DOKOUPIL: Second jobs.
CARDONA: — but not only that, the working conditions, but voice. As we’re reopening and reimagining schools, let's make sure teachers are at the table to talk about what schools should look like.
CARDONA: So, I'm really excited about where we're going with education. To the young folks, to answer your question, get in the profession. It's the best time to become a teacher.
DOKOUPIL: Alright. A smile on your face too.
KING: Thank you so much. Really nice to have you here.
CARDONA: Thank you. Thank you.
KING: Don't be a stranger.