On Tuesday, Kamala Harris introduced legislation seeking to have schools extend the public school day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bill would propose a pilot program aimed at helping working parents. The Family Friend Schools Act would help to “align the school day with the workday to better support working families,” according to the Democratic senator from California and presidential candidate.
“With the vast majority of schools closing at or around 3 p.m., two hours short of the standard full-time work day, parents are often left in a bind,” Harris said in a press release. “Additionally, summer breaks present a challenge; in fact, three in four parents report at least some difficulty finding child care during that time period.”
The bill would provide $5 million in funding to 500 elementary schools over a 5-year period. The funding would be used “to develop high-quality, culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, developmentally appropriate academic, athletic, or enrichment opportunities for students from at least 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year, with no closures except for Federal holidays, weekends, and emergencies” says Harris’ senate website.
“My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours,” said Harris. “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. But, this does not have to be the case. My bill provides an innovative solution that will help reduce the burden of child care on working families. It is time we modernize the school schedule to better meet the needs of our students and their families.”
Last month, California became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring later start times at public schools. The new law requires middle schools to start after 8 a.m. and high schools to start after 8:30 a.m.