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 HarrisTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Coal company sues EPA over power plant pollution regulation | Automakers fight effort to freeze fuel efficiency standards | EPA watchdog may probe agency's response to California water issues 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 GillibrandIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Hillicon Valley: Uber to lay off thousands of employees | Facebook content moderation board announces members | Lawmakers introduce bill to cut down online child exploitation Democrats introduce legislation to protect children from online exploitation MORE (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOregon GOP Senate nominee contradicts own campaign by saying she stands with QAnon Oregon GOP Senate nominee posts video in support of QAnon conspiracy theory We need just recovery for the coronavirus and climate crises MORE (D-Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenators offer bill to prevent relief payments from being seized by private debt collectors Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Rollout of new anti-redlining rules sparks confusion in banking industry MORE (D-Ohio) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetCongress headed toward unemployment showdown Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill Job losses approach Depression territory as election looms 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 SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPentagon charts its own course on COVID-19, risking Trump's ire Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 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.