WASHINGTON COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona paid a visit to Oregon Tuesday, stumping for President Biden's American Family Plan and getting a first-hand look at a summer enrichment program made possible by the American Rescue Plan.

Cardona's first stop was at Witch Hazel Elementary School in Hillsboro, where he greeted students in Spanish and was briefed on the school's bilingual summer enrichment program.

Cardona's visit comes after a school year that saw most students spend the bulk of their time in distance learning.

He said a goal of returning to normal in the fall isn't setting the bar high enough.

"Prior to the pandemic across the country, we knew there were some students who had better access than others," Cardona said. "We knew that students had social and emotional needs that maybe weren't addressed. So we have to build back better."

At his second stop, Southridge High School in Beaverton, Cardona held a roundtable discussion with students and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici about the President's American Family Plan, a proposal that includes two years of free community college.

"When graduates of community college graduate, they have a 21% increase in their earning potential," said Cardona. "I think if we really focus on it as a country, we can get it done. And I think it would not only help those students but give us an opportunity to do a better job connecting to the workforce needs in our country."

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