New bill proposes longer school day to align with parents’ work schedule


In recent years, some school districts around the country have advocated for and even enacted a later start time for schools. With an average start time of 7:59 a.m. for public high schools, research has shown that a later start time could greatly benefit teens.

But what about a family’s often drastically different schedule? How does that work?

Parents aren’t always able to drop their children off at school and get to work on time. And when schools are closed, a parent might be faced with taking personal time or paying for child care.

It’s an every day issue that nearly every family faces and Senator Kamala Harris believes she has an answer—sync the school schedule with the work day.

Senator Harris recently proposed the Family Friendly Schools Act.

The Family Friendly Schools Act is aimed at working families who find it difficult coordinating a school schedule with a work schedule.

The proposed legislation would award five-year grants to 500 elementary schools that “align the school day with the work day to better support working families.”

Schools would have to provide “high-quality, culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, developmentally appropriate academic, athletic, or enrichment opportunities” Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Schools that receive the grant could also only close on Federal holidays, weekends, and emergencies.

It would also “establish a supplemental 21st century community learning centers grant program to support programs and activities during summer recess when school is not in session.”

The grants would be for schools in districts with a high percentage of working parents.

According to a press release, schools are closed, on average, 29 days out of the school year leaving parents with a difficult decision.

“The misalignment between school and work schedules puts working families through unnecessary financial stress – a burden we know is disproportionately shouldered by Black and Latinx families and families with low incomes,” said Catherine Brown, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. 

“Senator Harris’ proposal would better support families in arranging child care and their work schedules, enabling more parents – largely mothers – to work, advancing educational equity and providing a needed boost to our economy.”

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