Skip to content

How NYC's Summer Rising Program is Tackling Educational Inequities

Underprivileged students in New York City face numerous challenges throughout the year, but the summer months can be particularly difficult. Without access to the same summer activities as students from NYC's more affluent zip codes, studies show these students often experience a learning gap that puts them at a notable disadvantage. However, the NYC Public Schools' Summer Rising program is one way city officials are trying to close the opportunity gap and give students a summer to remember.

For many underprivileged students, Summer Rising represents a lifeline of opportunity. By providing access to resources and experiences that were previously out of reach, the program opens doors to new possibilities. Community Based Organizations (such as The Child Center of NY and New York Edge) come together to offer mentorship, guidance, and support, creating a network of encouragement that helps students improve their academic performance during the school year.

While Summer Rising provides NYC students with crucial opportunities for enrichment and support, the program has also faced criticism for its enrollment process and limited seat capacity. In 2022 and 2023, only 110,000 spaces were made available, shutting out roughly 45,000 students, many of whom should have been prioritized per the program's admission equity policies. And while the DOE is working with their partner organization DYCD to increase the program's bandwidth by next summer, there are no plans to open up additional seats for Summer 2023. This leaves thousands of students (and parents) without opportunity during New York City's hottest months.

While the NYC Public Schools' Summer Rising program has undoubtedly provided a wealth of opportunity for thousands of underprivileged students, there is still work to be done to ensure that every student gets the support they need. And while there are many nonprofit organizations that provide additional and crucial support to children in need, there's still a long way to go before NYC's public school students are afforded equal opportunity to grow, to learn, and to actualize their dreams.