Weingarten, Cardona discuss standardized testing and more at Share My Lesson conference

This year’s Share My Lesson conference attracted more than 60,000 participants, AFT President Randi Weingarten said March 25, and among the programming for 2021 was her conversation that day with Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona.

“I have very fond memories of Share My Lesson here in Meriden [Connecticut],” said AFT veteran Dr. Cardona in his opening comments, going on to say that some plans available on the SML website originated from his hometown of Meriden.

Dr. Cardona said he was excited about “really controlling the narrative about public education and the foundation that it serves for this country’s growth. … As secretary of education, I want to make sure that when I lead, I lead lifting this profession … we need to lead with a good offense about what we’re doing for this country and how we’re shaping the lives of children and building communities, because that’s what we do.”

Weingarten mentioned there was “a lot of consternation” about the Biden administration’s waiver policy on standardized testing this year, and in response to that, Dr. Cardona said, “Overreliance on standardized assessments alone is a major concern that I have … I look forward to having conversations about how we can make sure that assessments are providing an opportunity for educators to learn more about their students, but doing so in a way that doesn’t narrow curriculum.”

In response to a viewer question read by Weingarten about social and emotional support in school settings, Dr. Cardona said, “If social and emotional support is not baked into everything that we do after this pandemic, I think we missed an opportunity. … So I think organizationally I want to see some structural shifts, and I want to make sure that it’s not a thing that we do for students or a thing that we do when people are sad. It needs to be baked into what we are doing as educators throughout.”