Bill cosponsored by US Sen. Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, proposes to keep schools open longer to help working families

Bill cosponsored by US Sen. Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, proposes to keep schools open longer to help working families
(Source: KAIT-TV)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a bill, which is cosponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown from Ohio, that would better align elementary school day schedules with the work day.

The Family Friendly Schools Act is aimed at supporting working-class families with a 10-hour workday.

“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," said Harris. "But, this does not have to be the case. My bill provides an innovative solution that will help reduce the burden of child care on working families. It is time we modernize the school schedule to better meet the needs of our students and their families.”

Harris cited research that shows the majority of schools close at approximately 3 p.m., two hours shorter than the standard workday. That differential can create a financial strain, especially for parents and caregivers. with inflexible work schedules.

The proposed legislation would give resources to elementary schools to voluntarily stay open during the entire workday.

“We know that the school day often does not align with work schedules and how difficult it can be for working families to find and afford quality childcare. This voluntary program would help local school districts study and explore ways to help schools keep their facilities open throughout the work day for academic, athletic, or enrichment activities without forcing teachers to work longer hours or work for less pay. This bill also invests in summer programs that provide childcare relief to working families, and a safe and productive environment for students during the summer months.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown

"Roughly one million mothers of elementary school children cut their hours at work because of a lack of affordable child care, said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. "This bill would enable school districts and communities to find solutions that work for them, and would make sure teachers and paraprofessionals aren’t filling in the gaps without respect and fair compensation.”

It would also provide investments to enrich summer programs.

Harris said, under the bill, teachers and staff would not be forced to work any longer than regularly scheduled.

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