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Jill Biden, Miguel Cardona stop in New Haven for the summer learning tour

“It’s great to have a teacher in D.C. that’s fighting for you all,” said U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Wednesday afternoon, Jill Biden and Connecticut native, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stopped in New Haven for a tour of the Horizons summer learning program at Albertus Magnus College.

They spent time with students, parents and teachers learning about the six-week education program.

“It’s great to have a teacher in D.C. that’s fighting for you all,” Cardona said to students Wednesday. “We’re a village, we’re taking care of one another and you’re a part of that village.”

RELATED: Jill Biden, Miguel Cardona kick off summer learning tour

The K through third graders in Horizons learn everything from math to swimming, all at no cost to parents.

“It takes a load off my shoulders, it being free,” mom Jacqueline Taylor said. “It’s perfect. It helps me out so much.”

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Taylor’s son Bryce is back for his second year with Horizons. She says the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Bryce’s life and his education.

“It’s been tough,” she said. “COVID has put a toll on a lot of people. It has been tough, but they’re coming along.”

Biden agreed. “I'm a teacher so I was teaching on Zoom, too,” she addressed students, “but a lot of us missed a lot of time, a lot of days. It was so hard to learn over Zoom, didn’t you think?”

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Connecticut received $1.1 billion in school emergency relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, with $275 million of that money going toward academic recovery efforts to run programs like Horizons.

Last year, the program was fully funded by ARPA money, but this year it only covers half.

State officials say they have a model in place to keep Horizons running. For parents like Taylor, that’s good news.

“Please, let more come,” she said. “Let it keep going and let it be a great opportunity for others.”

Wednesday’s stop was part of a multi-state tour for the first lady. From Connecticut she headed to Michigan, where she'll visit another summer learning program in Detroit Thursday.

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