At a time when African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID and racial unrest, she’d provide a steady hand.” Harry Williams, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said on Tuesday the group, which advocates for public historically Black colleges and universities, would be raising the idea of naming a former or current HBCU president as the education secretary with members of Biden’s transition team, building on the pride in the Black community over the election of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a graduate of Howard University. “It would be an amazing choice,” he said. “Historically we’ve never had anyone in that role from the HBCU community.” UNCF president Michael Lomax is drafting a letter to the Biden transition calling for the next administration, among other things, to double the size of Pell Grants and eliminate $1.25 billion in loans HBCUs owe the federal government for capital projects, Murray said. But education experts generally expect the education secretary to come from K-12 education. Chalkbeat , an education news site, reported that the centrist Democrats for Education Reform is pushing the superintendents of major school districts: Sonja Brookins Santelises of Baltimore City Public Schools, Janice Jackson of Chicago Public Schools and William Hite, of the School District of Philadelphia. The Washington Post reported that Tony Thurmond, the California state superintendent of public instruction; Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, a Democrat from Connecticut and a former national teacher of the year; Betty Rosa, New York state’s interim commissioner of education; and Seattle Public Schools superintendent Denise Juneau are under consideration. “Typically, the secretary of education has a background in elementary and secondary education, even though the vast majority of the department’s budget involves federal student aid,” said Terry Hartle, top higher education lobbyist and senior vice president for government relations at the American Council on Education. “Given the Biden campaign's initial focus on 'free community college' and Mrs. Biden’s personal connection to community colleges, they might consider people with a background in two-year schools, which would be welcome and overdue,” said Hartle, who declined to speculate about potential candidates. “But if past is prologue, they will look first at elementary/secondary schools.” The choice home page to fill cabinet positions, though, can be unpredictable. “I never expected to get a phone call from the Obama transition team,” said former commerce secretary Gary Locke in an interview Tuesday.


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