Luján Questions Education Secretary Nominee on Supporting Student Mental Health Care, Bridging Digital Divide, and Addressing Childhood Well-being
In First Committee Hearing, Luján Stresses Importance of Supporting Students During COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), an incoming member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), participated in a full committee hearing on the nomination of Dr. Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education. Senator Luján met with Dr. Cardona in January to discuss New Mexico’s education priorities.
Video of Senator Luján’s exchange with Dr. Cardona is available here.
In his opening statement, Senator Luján remarked, “I look forward to working with you, [Chairwoman Murray and Ranking Member Burr], and the rest of my colleagues to not only defeat this pandemic, but expand access to early childhood education, strengthen public education and apprenticeship programs, and make post-secondary education and technical training programs more affordable for millions of Americans.”
“Dr. Cardona, I am very concerned that due to COVID-19 and disruptions in learning, students are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, trauma, and mental health challenges, as well as their families. Data shows that over 75% of students receiving mental health care received that care in schools,” Senator Luján continued.
Senator Luján asked Dr. Cardona, “Can you expand on what we can be done to ensure that students, as well as all of the [school] employees … have access to these important mental health programs?”
Senator Luján also pressed the need to address child welfare, close achievement gaps, bridge the digital divide, and tackle the homework gap for rural and Tribal communities, and promote interagency collaboration to better support Tribal schools, educators, and students.