Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSecond gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House Harris takes fresh start to 2022 We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified 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.
“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 GillibrandDefense bill sets up next fight over military justice Harry, Meghan push family leave with annual holiday card Overnight Energy & Environment — New York Democrats go after 'peaker' plants MORE (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Lawmakers seek 'assurances' Olympic uniforms not linked to forced labor Watch Live: Schumer, Senate Democrats hold press conference MORE (D-Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board Sinema, Manchin curb Biden's agenda MORE (D-Ohio) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden addresses Coloradans after wildfires: 'Incredible courage and resolve' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Mars may start 'terraforming itself' Boulder County picks up pieces after unprecedented wind and firestorm 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 SandersDemocrats call on Biden to step up virus response We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Overnight Health Care — Biden's Supreme Court setback MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances 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.