Miguel Cardona, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Education Department, said during his Senate confirmation hearing that he believes it’s the right of male-born students to compete in girl’s sports, a contrast to the stance taken by his would-be predecessor.
Cardona, who was named Connecticut’s K-12 school chief in August 2020, testified on Wednesday morning before the Senate’s education committee. He was questioned by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on whether it worried him that his home state allows students who are male by birth to compete and claim titles in girls’ sports at the expense of biological girls. In September 2020, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos threatened to pull federal funding out of Connecticut schools unless they rescinded that policy.
“What do you think in general about boys running in girls track meets, like they’ve been doing in Connecticut?” Paul asked.
“I think it’s critically important to respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extracurricular actives,” Cardona replied.
“Does it bother you that the top 20 percent of boys running in track meets beat all of the girls in the state? And that it, you know, will completely destroy girls athletics?” Paul followed up. “The girls are being pushed out. If they don’t make the finals in the state meet, they don’t get college scholarships, that it’s really detrimental to girls sports.”
“I recognize and appreciate the concern and the frustrations that are expressed,” Cardona said, adding that he “understands the challenge” because he has had conversations with families in Connecticut who felt the state’s policy was unfair, as well as families of transgender students who supported it. “I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities even if they’re transgender. I think that’s their right.”
“Well, a lot of us think that that’s bizarre, you know? Not very fair,” said an astonished Paul. “I think most people in the country think it’s bizarre. You know? That it’s just completely bizarre and unfair that people, and you’re gonna run the education? You’ve got no problem with it?”
“I mean, to think it’s okay that boys would compete with girls in a track meet, and that somehow would be fair,” the Kentucky senator continued. “I wonder where feminists are on this. I wonder where the people who supported women’s sports are on this.”
The exchange came after Biden, on his first day in the White House, signed an executive order requiring any school that receives federal funding to allow students to compete in their preferred gender.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the order reads.