WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A bill introduced by California Senator Kamala Harris calls to extend school hours to 10 hours per day. The idea doesn’t call for extended class time, rather extended time children can be at school to ease stress on working parents and, in many cases, save on daycare costs.
“The Family Friendly Schools Act will create a first-of-its-kind pilot program to give schools resources to stay open during the entire work day throughout the school year and to invest over $1 billion in enriching summer learning programs – all without forcing teachers to work longer hours or for less pay,” Harris says in a press release.
The bill awards grant money to fund programs in 500 elementary schools nationwide with a high volume of low-income students.
Teachers would supervise the program and get paid hourly for the extra time. Some say three additional hours at school would be hard for children.
Educators and parents spoke about the proposed change that could keep most Wichita students in school from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The devil will be in the details because by 3:30, 4, our little kids, their minds are gone. They’re in overload” says United Teachers of Wichita President Kimberly Howard. “We wouldn’t want to have a longer reading block or math block, something like that. I think they would be checked out by then.”
For parents like Michelle May, the possibility of reducing everyday cost for childcare is an attractive feature of the bill.
“Daycare is probably one of the most expensive things parents have to deal with, and it’s really hard on the budget,” May says. “That would be attractive for a lot of parents to eliminate that expense.”
Some believe the bill is a political move as Senator Harris is running for president.