No, Kamala Harris' Bill Will Not Increase The Amount Of Time Teachers & Faculty Work
Harris' bill wants to lengthen the school day by three hours to accommodate parents' workday schedules. Some have interpreted the proposal to mean teachers and faculty will work more, but that's not the case.
Senator Kamala Harris has introduced a bill that would lengthen the school day to work better with parents' workday schedule.
First reported by Mother Jones, the proposal, which is called the Family Friendly Schools Act, hopes to increase school hours by three hours during weekdays, pushing the end of the average school day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Per Mother Jones:
"Her plan: A pilot program that gives money to 500 schools that serve a high proportion of low-income families to develop a school schedule that better matches the work schedule. Each recipient school would receive up to $5 million dollars over five years to keep their doors open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with no closures except for weekends, federal holidays, and emergencies."
The schools involved will be encouraged to use the money to work with community partners and develop "high-quality, culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, developmentally appropriate academic, athletic, or enrichment opportunities for students."
According to a tweet detailing the plan from Harris, it will offer: "Innovative pilot program for schools"; "Provides before and after-school activities for children during the work day"' "Peace of mind for working parents"; and "Reduce the cost of childcare."
\u201cI was raised by a single mother\u2014I know firsthand how stressful and costly it is to juggle work and school schedules. Justice for students and working families is on the ballot. My Family Friendly Schools Act will give parents more after-school opportunities for their children.\u201d— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris) 1573065297
Mother Jones' report also goes on to say that Harris' plan will not increase the amount of time teachers and faculty work "unless they volunteer additional hours and are compensated fairly for them."
"It shifts the mindset from one teacher being responsible for a group of kids all day to the school and community collectively watching students," Catherine Brown, a researcher at the liberal Center for American Progress, said.
The bill was inspired by Harris' own experiences, as well as the reality that parents often have to pay for childcare for the hours between the end of the school and workday. As Mother jones notes, this mostly impacts low-income mothers and mothers of color.
"My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours," Harris said. "So, I know firsthand that, for many working parents, juggling between school schedules and work schedule is a common cause of stress and financial hardship. But, this does not have to be the case."
As Brown notes in the report, the proposal is "an innovation bill," adding that "We don't have the solutions yet, but they're going to come from local communities that know what works best for their parents and students."
Since then, a number of people have taken to social media to speak on the report.
\u201cKamala Harris wants 2 offer after-school care where teachers can volunteer/be paid. Schools would work with parents 2C what parents need 4 their children & offer extra curricular activities. Before school/after school care is expensive. I like this. \nhttps://t.co/aWhHB8KfvI\u201d— Reagan Gomez (@Reagan Gomez) 1573059126
\u201cAligning the school day with the work day would be a huge benefit to working parents, especially women and super especially single moms. Everything about the way school is set up STILL assumes one parent is always free to pick up/have conferences https://t.co/LZh5aIu2Uh\u201d— Clara Jeffery (@Clara Jeffery) 1573053665
Source: Mother Jones