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 HarrisNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide Harris gets key union endorsement amid polling plateau 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 GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Perry replacement faces Ukraine questions at hearing | Dem chair demands answers over land agency's relocation | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Senate committee advances budget reform plan MORE (D-Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Warren, Brown press IRS on study reviewing Free File program Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (D-Ohio) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting Biden, Buttigieg condemn rocket attacks on Israel 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 SandersSinger Neil Young says that America's presidents haven't done enough address climate change New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Bloomberg, Patrick take different approaches after late entries into primary race Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne 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.