Secretary Cardona Announces the U.S. Department of Education’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” Initiative

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Secretary Cardona Announces the U.S. Department of Education’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” Initiative

January 24, 2023

In a major address, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona laid out his vision for the direction the agency will follow in 2023 to promote academic excellence, improve learning conditions, and prepare our students for a world where global engagement is critical to our nation’s standing. In his address Secretary Cardona remarked that “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” is not a list of new priorities, but a call to strengthen our will to transform education for the better, building on approaches that we know work in education. Secretary Cardona outlined how the nation has moved forward but emphasized it will take everyone working together to produce lasting change in the pursuit to ensure our nation's schools, students, and teachers have everything they need to be successful.

As a way to encourage his vision, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten will kick-off her national “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” tour by traveling to Mesa, Arizona, to meet with students, parents, teachers and community members to discuss ways schools can promote academic excellence and prepare for global competitiveness.

“Education opens doors. As a student, as a teacher, school principal, and as a parent, I’ve seen firsthand the way it transforms lives. That’s why, when we talk about the future of education, I could not believe more strongly that we have to Raise the Bar,” said Secretary Cardona. “We have what it takes to lead the world in education, but it will take the collective will to challenge complacency and status quo in education and focus on substance, not sensationalism. Working together, I know we can do it.”

During his remarks, Secretary Cardona underscored the need for “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” to be a bipartisan effort. The passing of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided $130 billion in funding for states to reopen schools following the COVID-19 pandemic and began the work of providing resources aimed at closing long standing academic achievement gaps. Following the passing of ARP, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provided funds for the Department’s Stronger Connections Grant which allocated more than $1 billion for providing schools with community centered mental health support. Secretary Cardona laid out in his remarks that this is the moment to move forward even further in ensuring that P12 education provides excellent results for every student no matter their background.

After his speech, Secretary Cardona sat down with National PTA Executive Director Nathan Monell to discuss the focus areas in further detail.

“National PTA recognizes that rigorous education and support of students must be a priority to invest in the future of our nation,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA. “Every child has the potential to achieve at high standards and excel as global citizens if they have the opportunity and are encouraged to rise to new challenges. We are honored to join Secretary Cardona and the Department of Education in such an important and timely discussion.”

Secretary Cardona highlighted the key focus areas of “Raise the Bar: Lead the World”:

  • Achieving Academic Excellence
    • Accelerating learning for every student
    • Deliver a comprehensive and rigorous education for every student
  • Boldly Improve Learning Conditions
    • Eliminate the educator shortage for every school
    • Invest in every student’s mental health and well-being
  • Creating Pathways for Global Engagements
    • Ensure every student has a pathway to college and career
    • Provide every student a pathway to multilingualism

Click here to view a full transcript of Secretary Cardona’s remarks.