U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona joined Queens Rep. Grace Meng on a PS 007 tour of Elmhurst on Tuesday, August 16, to see the summer learning programs offered there. After the tour, Cardona and Meng met with other local officials who run the program and children and their parents to discuss the summer learning program.
Before the roundtable, Cardona and Meng stopped by a children’s art-making class. Each student worked on styles inspired by different artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso. Cardona was so impressed with her art program that she said she didn’t know some of the styles she was familiar with as a child until she entered college.
Those who joined Cardona and Meng at the roundtable included New York City Vice Chancellor Desmond Blackburn, New York City Youth Community Development Commissioner Keith Howard, and members of the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services. . The main topics discussed focused on summer learning programs such as Summer Rising and their benefits to the children who participate in them, as well as best practices that can be done to improve the mental health of students. I was.
Cardona and Meng say part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes a significant investment in expanding summer programs for students and families. Under the American Rescue Plan, $122 billion will be provided to states and districts to help reopen schools, help students catch up on schoolwork, and access mental health support, including more summer programs.
“We heard firsthand today from parents, educators and students how this funding is helping them get out of this pandemic,” Meng said. “Not only for material purposes, but also for their social and emotional well-being. Thank you, Secretary Cardona, for coming today.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced students to attend virtual school for up to two years. Many concerns were then expressed about how they would physically adjust to returning to the classroom. The American Rescue Plan does that by helping such students readjust their social skills with their peers after being away for too long, and by providing mental health assistance as they attempt extreme adjustment. It is intended to be taken into consideration.
“America’s Relief Program funds are working to improve the lives of children,” Cardona said. “This is a summer program to help children catch up and adjust to school. School is a community, a second family.”
The father of one of his Summer Rising students thanked Summer Rising for helping his daughter so much. He said this kind of program should be offered every summer.
Cardona also addressed the shortage of qualified teachers across the country. He noted that there was a nationwide shortage even before the pandemic, but he feels it’s still a big problem. He said he thought they were related. Cardona said educators need to be paid more for their work, have better working conditions and have more say. He believes that more investment in education can fill the gap.