Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day

Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Women who inspired 'Hidden Figures' film will be honored with congressional gold medals MORE (D-Calif.) introduced legislation Wednesday that would keep public elementary schools open for 10 hours a day, a move that would more closely align with the workday. 

Harris, a presidential candidate, introduced the Family Friendly Schools Act 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.

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“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.”

The legislation seeks to award five-year grants of up to $5 million total to school districts to keep elementary school doors open from at least 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday during the school year. The plan would also push the schools to remain open for parent-teacher conferences but not increase the amount of time teachers and staff have to work unless they ask.

The bill would also require the Department of Education to publish a report on its conclusions from schools affected by the pilot program after the five-year grant period.

Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day MORE (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate committee advances budget reform plan Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill MORE (D-Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates Brown confirms he won't enter 2020 race: 'I think it's a good field' GM officially sells Ohio plant, months after Trump touted sale MORE (D-Ohio) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members MORE (D-Colo.) are co-sponsoring the legislation. 

Harris rolled out support for the bill from several education advocacy organizations.

“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 child care. 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.”

While education has not been one of the most prominent issues in the 2020 primary, several candidates have unveiled their own plans to overhaul the public education system.

Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race MORE (D-Mass.), two other White House contenders, have advocated for a “community school” model to extend the time schools are open and provide social services such as health and dental care. Sanders’s plan calls for $5 billion in funding each year to support such schools, while Warren’s plan vows to transition 25,000 schools to that model by 2030.