Education chief Jill Biden to launch summer learning tour
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will travel to Connecticut, Georgia and Michigan this week to review summer learning programs that help children who have fallen behind during the pandemic to catch up in reading, writing and arithmetic before the start of the new school year.
The two-day tour, announced Tuesday by the first lady’s office, also gives her and Cardona an opportunity to shine a light on programs funded by President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package. The $1.9 trillion U.S. bailout set aside $122 billion to help schools reopen and stay open safely during the pandemic, and to meet the academic and mental health needs of students.
Many schools across the United States have seen large numbers of students fall under the radar after schools closed due to the pandemic and learning moved online. Many students skipped classes, tests, and assignments. A record number of families have opted out of annual standardized testing, leaving some districts with little evidence of student performance in reading and math.
Now that most schools have reopened, many have scrambled to make up for lost time and learning gaps. They’re budgeting billions for tutoring, summer camps and longer school days and trying to figure out which students need the most help after two years of disruption.
Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and Cardona, opened the tour on Wednesday by visiting a Horizons National summer learning program held at the private Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut, for students from local public elementary schools.
Horizons National is a nonprofit organization that offers summer learning programs in 20 states, according to the first lady’s office.
Cardona is also a career educator and a Connecticut native who served as that state’s commissioner of education when President Biden nominated him for the federal position.
Cardona and the first lady also plan to stop by a Detroit Public Schools Community District summer learning program Thursday, hosted at the Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts in Detroit, which serves students from kindergarten through the eighth year of the district.
From Michigan, they will travel to Athens, Georgia to visit another National Horizons program, this one at the University of Georgia and Barnett Shoals Elementary School Student Services.
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