NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — First lady Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, a Connecticut native, kicked off their two-day summer learning tour Wednesday in New Haven to highlight children’s programs that are paid for by the federal American Rescue Plan.

Biden and Cardona visited a Horizons National summer program held at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven for local public elementary school students.

Horizons National is a nonprofit organization providing summer learning programs in 20 states, according to the first lady’s office. While there are outdoor activities like swimming and playing at Horizons, it is not a summer day camp.

Horizon’s mission is to help children who fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic catch up on reading, writing, and arithmetic before the new school year begins.

“It’s all about summer education, learning, it’s about experiential learning, and keeping them on track educationally but also advancing them,” said Dr. Marc Camille, the president of Albertus Magnus College.

Students read the pair a book about a boy jumping off a high-dive and participated in a STEM activity using LEGOS.

  • First lady Jill Biden
  • Miguel Cardona

Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and Cardona, also a career educator and a Meriden native who was that state’s education commissioner when the president nominated him for the federal post.

The president’s popularity has been falling in the polls recently. Heading into the midterm elections, Republicans are seizing on the opportunity.

Connecticut GOP State Party Chair Ben Proto told News 8 in a statement:

The Biden administration labeled concerned parents as domestic terrorists for asking questions about the policies of their children’s school system, and the First Lady is here to remind us that the government believes they are a partner in the decision making process concerning the education of every American family. Connecticut native, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona – Biden’s appointee – doesn’t believe parents are primary stakeholders in their children’s education.

Ben Proto

Cardona and the first lady will visit a Detroit Public Schools Community District summer learning program Thursday. From there, they will head to Athens, Georgia, to visit another Horizons National program, this one at the University of Georgia.

News 8 will have a full recap of Biden and Cardona’s visit on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.