NYC summer school set to expand after COVID’s ‘lost year’

City public summer school could soon be an option for any parent who wants it for their child, Mayor de Blasio suggested Tuesday.

De Blasio said the city is examining whether it should make summer school optional for all public school families and that he expects to make a decision on that in the coming weeks.

“Some families are going to very much want it. Some families will not,” he said at a Tuesday morning press briefing. “I think the direction is right. We want to reach as many kids as needed. We’re working on that plan right now.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter has said she wants to make summer school available to as many students as possible.

De Blasio’s remarks come two days after mayoral hopeful Ray McGuire proposed making full-time summer school mandatory to make up for the “lost year” of learning brought on by COVID and the need for remote learning.

“The summer is an opportunity for schools to help students continue to regain skills and competencies lost during the last year,” McGuire, a former Citi Bank executive, said in a policy paper he released over the weekend. “These summer sessions should be designed for every child and the whole child, and explicitly be designed to recreate a sense of in-person belonging and include all the richness a school environment can offer.”

Mayoral hopeful and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also supports expanding summer school and has proposed expanding the school year on a permanent basis.

De Blasio noted that the recent $1.9 trillion in federal stimulus money approved by President Biden would allow the city more flexibility when it comes to expanding summer school.

But he suggested that providing the teachers to do it may also be an issue.

“We also have to think about our educators who have been working non-stop under very, very tough conditions,” de Blasio said.

United Federation of Teachers President Mike Mulgrew said last week he expects the logistics around remote and in-person learning will be a key issue that needs to be worked out.

“We need to have a targeted program,” he said. “We need to know which parents want their children to be part of this in-person and which ones would want to be part of it remotely.”

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