Bloomberg launches $50M program to address charter school learning loss

Mayor Eric Adams welcomed former Mayor Michael Bloomberg back to City Hall Monday morning to announce a new summer program for charter school students.

Adams said Bloomberg Philanthropies and other private donors will be spending $50 million to to serve 25,000 charter school students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The goal is to help students catch up from the disruptions of the pandemic with a focus on reading and math. The programs are expected to span about five weeks and all charter schools are invited to apply for funding. Other donors include Kenneth C. Griffin, Stan Druckenmiller, The Carson Family Charitable Trust, Robin Hood, Gray Foundation and Walentas Foundation.

“The summer is a valuable opportunity to make up for lost ground and we’re not going to let it slip by,” Bloomberg said.

According to a July 2021 study from McKinsey & Company, students across the country were 10 points behind in math and nine points behind in reading compared to their peers, pre-pandemic.

Bloomberg said the new initiative is a complement to Summer Rising, the free program that will be offered at traditional public schools for a second year. Summer Rising is open to all city students, including those who attend public schools, private schools and charters. It’s expected to serve 110,000 elementary and middle school students, with academics in the morning and activities in the afternoon.

Adams has also announced plans to expand the Summer Youth Employment Program, which he said is part of the broader effort to address gun violence in the city.

Adams cast Monday’s press conference as a homecoming of sorts for Bloomberg, hinting at the chilly relationship between former Mayor Bill de Blasio and his predecessor.

“It’s only the beginning of things we’re going to do together,” Adams said. “We’re going to stay close.”

Adams has appointed some Bloomberg administration officials to key positions, and said he is in frequent contact with both de Blasio and Bloomberg.

He’s also signaled a warmer relationship with charter schools than de Blasio had.

“I’m not going to be caught up in the conversation of separating children based on the names of the schools they are in,” Adams said. “They are all of our children … Whether they are in district schools or charter schools, they deserve to have a quality education.”

This story was corrected to reflect the grade range of students, which is kindergarten through eighth grade.