Equitable access to summer learning programs is critical for children from marginalized communities

Dear Editor:

July 10 through July 14 is National Summer Learning Week. Summer break is often seen as a time of relaxation and fun for most children, but it can also be a period of significant learning loss for many students, especially those from historically marginalized communities. Research consistently shows that students from low-income families experience a greater “summer slide” in academic achievement compared to their more affluent peers. This loss of learning can contribute to the persistent achievement gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, in addition to the COVID learning loss that also disproportionately impacted this same group.

To address this issue, it is crucial to provide equitable access to high-quality summer learning programs for children from historically marginalized communities. These programs offer transformative experiences that not only mitigate learning loss, but also foster social and emotional development, build confidence, and enhance critical life skills.

By investing in high-quality summer learning opportunities offered at organizations like the Princeton-Blairstown Center, we can provide children with engaging educational experiences that go beyond the traditional classroom setting. They incorporate hands-on activities, project-based learning, outdoor exploration, and cultural enrichment, promoting holistic development and sparking curiosity among young learners.

These programs can play a pivotal role in promoting equity and bridging the opportunity gap. By focusing on historically marginalized communities, we can ensure that children who often lack access to resources and opportunities have the chance to engage in enriching experiences that can set them on a path to success. The Princeton-Blairstown Center has witnessed firsthand the transformative impact such opportunities can have on young people. Through our Summer Bridge and Leader-in-Training Programs, we have seen students gain confidence, develop critical thinking skills, and cultivate a love for learning.

As we celebrate National Summer Learning Week, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering all children with the resources and support they need to thrive academically and socially. Together, we can create a future where every child has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, irrespective of their socioeconomic background.

By understanding the importance of and financially supporting high-quality summer learning opportunities for historically marginalized communities, we can collectively work towards a more equitable and inclusive society.

Pam Gregory
President & CEO
Princeton-Blairstown Center