Kamala Harris’ Goal for Longer School Days

Kamala Harris, Democratic 2020 Presidential Candidate, focuses on issues for women, people of color, and low-income Americans. She has introduced a bill for schools to stay open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., known as the “Family Friendly Schools Act.” The purpose of this bill is for the elementary school day to align with parents’ work hours and make pick-ups and drop-offs more convenient for them.

This does not mean keeping students in classes until six in the afternoon, her goal is to add after-school programs that already exist, but make them free and added in at more schools.

These programs would provide activities for students outside of the class. Harris’ main idea is not to force students to work for an additional three hours, but to provide and option for whomever is in need of it.

This would not be required for teachers, administrators, and staff to work additional hours, but they would be paid if they chose to work the extra time with the children.

The act would pay five-year grants up to $5 million to school districts for these programs. It also provides for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers to gain more access to summer learning programs at up to $1.3 billion.

Another goal for this act is for schools to be open everyday except for federal holidays, weekends, and emergencies. Right now, schools are closed for an average of twenty-nine days and a summer break, which does not always line up with the parents’ work schedules.

When Harris first initiated the bill, not everyone agreed with her ideas of a solution.

“The View” host, Whoopi Goldberg, put out that she thought it was wrong and would be “institutionalizing children.”

U.S. senate candidate, Trish Zornio, tweeted that she agreed school days should line up with work hours, but doesn’t think making school days longer is the appropriate solution.

Comedian, Matt Walsh, says her idea for a ten hour school day is both “disturbing and revealing.”

However, a lot of other celebrities along with the American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals are all supporters of the bill.

Some elementary school students don’t have a choice to stay at the school and either end up staying home by themselves, which is potentially dangerous, or making parents have a shorter work day, which sometimes they can not always afford to have less paid hours.

With this new idea, students who need it can stay at their school until picked up and have fun doing it. With the provided activities students can get extra time with friends, extra help with school work, and a chance to meet new people.

Some parents can’t always afford for a daycare center, which can range from $300 to $1500 a month, or a summer program, which can cost $100 to $2000 a week. With this new bill, they would both be fully paid for, which will help the safety for children and make it more convenient to parents.

This, of course, won’t be perfect for everyone. There are always gonna be children of people who go to work too early or too late, but this is a great start to solve this problem.