Mr. Biden, for instance, raised questions about the role of charters during his presidential campaign. Dr. Cardona has been more measured. Ms. Toll said she found him to be “neither pro-charter or anti-charter,” and more concerned with individual school quality.
Ms. DeVos’s role as a political boogeyman allowed Democrats to paper over the deep differences in opinion on standardized testing, public funding of charter schools and the ability of parents to chose the schools their children attend. Union leaders and left-leaning charter organizations alike regarded Ms. DeVos as a real threat to public education.
Dr. Cardona would have to confront some of those issues shortly after confirmation, including whether to allow states to cancel standardized testing during the pandemic.
For now, his expected nomination comes in a honeymoon period. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, a national union, heralded Dr. Cardona’s “deep respect for educators and their unions.” Jeanne Allen, who runs the Center for Education Reform and is a frequent critic of unions, called the selection “good news.”
The Presidential Transition
Dr. Cardona, 45, was appointed Connecticut’s first Latino commissioner of education in 2019 after two decades of experience as a public school educator, starting in a Meriden, Conn., elementary school classroom. He also served as a principal for a decade, among the youngest in the state, and as an assistant superintendent in Meriden. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, where he received his doctorate.
“He doesn’t lead with emotion, although there’s a lot of passion,” said Jennifer Straub, the principal of Maloney High School in Meriden, who directly reported to Dr. Cardona when he served as assistant superintendent. “He cares deeply about trust and relationships. That doesn’t mean that the answer is always yes, or you’re going to get your way — that was often the case — but you always felt heard.”
Teachers in Connecticut, who endorsed Dr. Cardona’s nomination, said that his leadership had struck the right balance of transparency and flexibility, even during the coronavirus crisis.