Senator Kamala Harris has a new proposal: ten hour school days. This would put children in school longer, and give them less time at home with their families.
The Hill reports that the Harris’ Family Friendly Schools Act is designed to create a “pilot program to give schools funds to stay open during the entire workday throughout the school year, as well as to invest over $1 billion to boost summer learning programs.”
Harris believes her proposal will help parents who have a working schedule as well as children. “My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours,” she said, “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.”
The 2020 presidential candidate added, “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.”
Putting children in school longer is not the answer. This would only create more stress on students. Not to mention it would affect the important time spent with family after school for nearly all students.
Mother Jones explained the act in further detail:
Her plan: A pilot program that gives money to 500 schools that serve a high proportion of low-income families to develop a school schedule that better matches the work schedule. Each recipient school would receive up to $5 million dollars over five years to keep their doors open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with no closures except for weekends, federal holidays, and emergencies. Professional development, parent-teacher conferences, and the like would have to happen, at minimum, alongside a full day of enrichment activities. At the end of the five years, the Education Department would publish a report documenting the best practices, as well as changes in parental employment, student performance, and teacher retention rates to be used to inform a future broader program.
Schools are encouraged to use the funding to collaborate with community partners to develop “high-quality, culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, developmentally appropriate academic, athletic, or enrichment opportunities for students.” The directive is purposefully vague: Schools are to spend the first year surveying parents, teachers, and community members to determine what sort of extended school day would work best for their particular school population.
Just one more reason why I will be homeschooling my children.