California Sen. Kamala Harris has introduced legislation meant to keep many U.S. schools open until 6 p.m.
The thinking goes something like this: In most public schools around the country, the school day starts around 8 a.m. and ends at about 3 p.m.
According to Harris, this poses a problem for parents who work 9-to-5 jobs and can’t afford to pay for child care between the time their kids get off school and they get off work.
“My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours,” Harris said in a news release. “So, I know firsthand that, for many working parents, juggling between school schedules and work schedules is a common cause of stress and financial hardship.”
I was raised by a single mother—I know firsthand how stressful and costly it is to juggle work and school schedules. Justice for students and working families is on the ballot. My Family Friendly Schools Act will give parents more after-school opportunities for their children. pic.twitter.com/1BmAy3e99s
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 6, 2019
Each school would be given a five-year grant of up to $5 million with which they could implement policies that would essentially allow them to stay open three hours longer each day, until 6 p.m.
The money also would supposedly keep schools open more days out of the school year, “with no closures except for Federal holidays, weekends, and emergencies,” according to Harris’ news release.
Moreover, the goal would be for schools not to “close for parent-teacher conferences, professional development, or any other reason without offering full-day enrichment activities free of charge for students,” the news release added.
After the third year of the pilot program, the secretary of education would be required to report the results to Congress.
These so-called Family Friendly Schools, the news release said, would “not increase the amount of time teachers and staff have to work unless they choose to work additional hours, and are compensated fairly for the additional hours.”
The bill would not necessarily extend the academic school day itself.
“An elementary school at which Family Friendly School policies are established shall collaborate with community partners to develop high-quality, culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, developmentally appropriate academic, athletic, extracurricular, enrichment, or community-based learning opportunities, for students from at least 8 am to 6 pm (or different hours if determined appropriate due to the needs of the community) Monday through Friday during the school year,” the bill reads.
As Harris’ Senate office told CNBC, specific scheduling decisions would be up to local school administrators, and the money could be used for extracurricular activities, not just extra class time.
Many commentators saw the proposal as an effort to transfer the responsibility of child care from parents to the government.
It won't get much attention, but Kamala Harris' plan to enact a TEN HOUR school day, 8 AM – 6 PM, is both disturbing and revealing. Democrats are trying to replace the family with the State. That's why they keep extending the amount of time kids spend in school.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 6, 2019
Kids need to spent less time in school and adults need to spend less time at work. There’s an obvious solution to that gap that is the opposite of Kamala Harris’ big plan.
— David Sessions (@davidsess) November 6, 2019