Kamala Harris Proposes Extended School Day to Aid Working Parents

Your kids are out of school at 3 p.m. but your boss expects you to stay until at least 4:30 and it’s a 25 minute drive from your office to the school. Now what do you do?

It’s a dilemma faced by many working parents today and it’s one that Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) thinks we can solve. She’s proposing a pilot program to encourage 500 low-income schools to extend operating hours from 8 AM to 6 PM. Ultimately, the program could expand.

“My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours,” Harris said (Mother Jones). “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.”

Teachers would have to volunteer to stay the extra hours in return for fair compensation. This way, there is no unwanted burden on educators.

The proposal is controversial. It spawned a number of critiques, parodies and memes on social media Wednesday. Some child advocates believe children are already spending too many hours in school each day and California recently pushed back school start times to allow children more sleep. Others blasted the plan for usurping local control and said work flexibility, not school length, is key for struggling parents.

Harris, who is vying for the Democratic nomination for president, has not shied away from bold education proposals. In April, she proposed increasing pay for U.S. teachers by $13,500 or 23% more per year