Bill would stretch U.S. school day to 6 pm to support working families - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Bill would stretch U.S. school day to 6 pm to support working families

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — A proposed piece of legislation that would stretch the school day in the United States from 8 am to 6 pm has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.

California’s U.S. Senator Kamala Harris introduced the “Family Friendly Schools Act” on Wednesday, Nov. 6 “to align the school day with the work day to better support working families,” according the the senator’s office.

“Throughout the United States, current school schedules make life harder for working families,” the release adds. “Research shows that schools are shut down for an average of 29 days throughout the school year.”

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“With the vast majority of schools closing at or around 3 pm, two hours short of the standard full-time work day, parents are often left in a bind.”

The bill would also “authorize an additional $1.3 billion annually for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to allow up to 1.8 million more children to access summer programming.”

Harris’ office says the bill would award grants of $5 million for a five-year pilot period “to school districts to transform elementary schools serving a high number of low-income families” to do the following:

-Collaborate with community partners to develop high-quality, culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, developmentally appropriate academic, athletic, or enrichment opportunities for students from at least 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday during the school year, with no closures except for Federal holidays, weekends, and emergencies;

-Do not close for parent-teacher conferences, professional development, or any other reason without offering full-day enrichment activities free of charge for students;

-Do not increase the amount of time teachers and staff have to work unless they choose to work additional hours, and are compensated fairly for the additional hours; and

-Develop and implement evidence-based policies and practices for parent and family engagement to support working families and help better align school and work schedules.

Senator Kamala Harris’ Office

The Department of Education would be required to create a report on the results of the five-year pilot period.

Harris’ office says the proposed legislation has received support from these organizations:

  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Center for American Progress
  • EdNavigator
  • First Focus
  • Institute for Educational Leadership
  • Main Street Alliance
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Summer Learning Association
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • National League of Cities.

The full text of the proposed legislation is available online.