First lady Dr. Jill Biden visits New Haven
First lady Dr. Jill Biden visited a summer learning program at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven Wednesday. It’s part of a three-state tour to tout President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion American Rescue Plan.
"What my husband did -- he said, 'Our kids in this country need to, you know, catch up on their learning,’” said Dr. Biden. “So, he wrote this plan -- the American Rescue Plan."
The program is run by Westport-based Horizons National. The Albertus Magnus site provides 46 kids between kindergarten and second grade interactive summer learning – tuition-free. Federal funds completely paid for the first year, but Horizon says private funding will keep the location running after ARPA funds run out.
"They're doing science experiments,” said Albertus Magnus president Dr. Marc Camille. “They're going to our pool and learning how to swim."
Joyce Hines’ two children struggled with remote learning during COVID. Hines said she’s seen a noticeable improvement.
"For King, it was very tough because it was his first year of school,” she said. “So, his first year of school, he was only in school for, like, two months.”
But Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said many students are still struggling.
"We assessed our kids, so we're waiting for the assessment results,” she said.
Russell-Tucker said Connecticut devoted $12 million in ARPA funds to summer learning programs. Local school districts spent even more.
You can still sign up for some programs at SummerCT.
Joining the first lady was U.S. Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona. Cardona is Connecticut's former education commissioner and a native of Meriden. On Thursday, both are making similar stops in Michigan and Georgia.
Dr. Biden’s visit came as a new Quinnipiac University Poll showed President Biden with a new low approval rating of just 31%.