US secretary of education visits Hillsboro, praises programs

Washington County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited a school in Hillsboro on Tuesday to talk about the importance of affordable higher education.

Cardona toured a summer enrichment program in Hillsboro for bilingual students at Witch Hazel Elementary School.

“I’m visiting different states across the country and I’m looking for examples of what’s working,” Cardona said. “I came here because what you’re a part of is something that we’re really proud of across the country and that the president is very proud of, too.”

The Washington County school district Cardona visited said 53% of their students are students of color but the same is true for just 12% of their teachers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in Hillsboro, Ore., July 13, 2021. (KOIN)

Cardona and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici held a roundtable discussion with students at Southridge High School who are participating in a program that’s helping to diversify the education workforce.

“It’s a grow-your-own program where students from the community get support to get their higher education and teaching credentials and then go back to teach in their own community,” Bonamici explained.

Cardona said he asked for a template of the program to share throughout the country.

“I saw more students in their summer school program here than I saw in some schools across the country. They’re getting it right here, they’re getting it right, they’re working together, they’re putting students at the center and they’re getting it right,” he said.

Cardona also said he’s working to provide two years of free community college because higher education is critical for the country’s economic recovery.

The education secretary also met with Gov. Kate Brown but the meeting was closed to the public.

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