Press Releases

Council for Opportunity in Education Hosts Education Secretary Cardona to Facilitate Book Club Discussion with TRIO Students Nationwide

July 28, 2021

Federal TRIO Programs assist low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities as well as other marginalized groups prepare for and enter college.

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) will host U.S. Department of Education Secretary Dr. Miguel A. Cardona during its virtual Good Trouble Book Club meeting on Thursday, July 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Secretary Cardona will facilitate a national discussion with hundreds of precollege and college students in Federal TRIO programs on chapter 8 of John Lewis’ book Across That Bridge (Reconciliation).

Since his confirmation at the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Cardona has praised TRIO as a program he supports in the budget, highlighting President Biden’s proposed increases in his opening statement as he testified before the House Education and Labor Committee last month.

Dr. Miguel Cardona shares a background with many of the students served by TRIO,” says COE President Maureen. “His story underscores the possibilities a college degree affects them. Like many of our program participants, Dr. Cardona grew up in a low-income household in which neither parent had a college degree.”

Earlier this summer COE launched the Good Trouble Book Club: Engaging Youth in a National Conversation about the Future of America, in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis and the importance of public service and civic engagement.

Over 200 book chapters across the country have involved more than 1,000 student participants in TRIO’s Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services, and the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Programs in regular discussion of Across that Bridge and the March Trilogy, both by Congressman Lewis. Secretary Cardona will lead students in a discussion of Chapter Eight — Reconciliation in Lewis’s Across that Bridge.

With hard work and the support of quality educators and mentors, Secretary Cardona became a first-generation college graduate and, ultimately, the youngest principal in the State of Connecticut at age 27. Moving on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in education, he rose to Superintendent and later State Commissioner of Education.

In May, the Biden Administration released its first budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2022 that included a historic $200 million (or 18%) funding increase for TRIO, for a total proposed appropriation of $1.3 billion. This commitment was the most serious of any Administration to college access and success.

Secretary Cardona will be the final national book club facilitator for this year’s program. Beginning in June, COE has hosted leaders in civil rights, higher education, and business to engage participating precollege and college youth in discussion around the book’s myriad themes.

Over the summer, students have had the opportunity to hear from COE President Emeritus Dr. Arnold Mitchem; First Justice of the Franklin/Hampshire Juvenile Court (Massachusetts), the Honorable James Collins; Comcast’s Senior Manager for Employee Engagement and Partnerships, Mr. Fernando Cárdenas; Thurgood Marshall College Fund President Dr. Harry Williams, and U.S. Congresswoman Gwendolyn Moore. The latter three speakers are themselves alumni of the Federal TRIO Programs.

The Good Trouble Book Club will officially culminate with a civic engagement student competition in September at COE’s 40th Annual Conference in Atlanta. Click here for more information about the Club.