U.S. Push To Extend School Day To 6pm
Californian Senator Kamala D. Harris wants to see the school day better align with the work day, to make life easier for working parents.
She introduced the Family Friendly Schools Act legislation on Wednesday.
"My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours,” said Senator 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.
"My bill provides an innovative solution that will help reduce the burden of childcare on working families. It is time we modernize the school schedule to better meet the needs of our students and their families.”
Senator Harris says by students going home at or around 3pm, two hours short of the standard workday, parents are left in the lurch. School holidays are another challenge, and according to Senator Harris, 3 in 4 American parents report difficulty in finding childcare during the holidays.
Her legislation aims to extend school hours to 8am to 6pm, five days a week, with no closures except for public holidays, weekends or emergencies.
There's already some support for the proposal.
“By investing in before, and after school programming, summer enrichment and 21st Century Community Learning Centers, this legislation addresses a chronic and long-neglected problem: too many working parents can’t access affordable care for their kids during the workday,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.
"Roughly one million mothers of elementary school children cut their hours at work because of a lack of affordable childcare. This bill would enable school districts and communities to find solutions that work for them, and would make sure teachers and paraprofessionals aren’t filling in the gaps without respect and fair compensation.”
Feature image: Getty