Sen. Kamala Harris introduces new bill to make school days longer

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) takes a question during a town hall meeting at Canyon Springs HS on March 1, 2019 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Harris is campaigning for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced a new bill on Wednesday, the Family Friendly Schools Act, to make school days longer by a total of three hours. 

The presidential candidate wants to start the school day by at least 8 a.m. and end it at 6 p.m. in order to, among other things, align with working parents’ schedules more sufficiently. 

“My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours,” said Sen. Harris, in a press release. “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.”

At this time, the majority of schools end at 3 p.m. on weekdays.

The idea behind the bill, according to the text, is to extend elementary school hours by three during weekdays and assign money for the implementation of programs in the summer when school is no longer in session to ease the burden on parents. 

The legislation would also award five grants of up to $5 million total to school districts to alter elementary schools that specifically serve a large number of low-income families into “Family Friendly Schools.”

The amount of time teachers and staff have to work will not be increased through this bill, unless they choose to work additional hours and are compensated in turn, according to the release. 

“My bill provides an innovative solution that will help reduce the burden of child care on working families," said Sen. Harris, in the release. "It is time we modernize the school schedule to better meet the needs of our students and their families.”

The full text of the bill is available below.