Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a Democratic presidential candidate, proposed a bill that would extend school hours from at least 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Family Friendly Schools Act would alter the traditional school day to align with parents' work hours, according to a news release Harris' office released Tuesday.
"My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours," Harris said in a statement. "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."
The bill would award grants to schools serving low-income families to provide "academic, athletic or enrichment opportunities" with "community partners."
It would prohibit schools from closing during staff development days, unless a comparable "enrichment activity" was provided free.
The bill would not mandate teachers, school administrators and staff to work additional hours. Additional hours would be "compensated fairly."
The proposal was met with a mixed response: Some praised the policy for offering after-school programs "that already exist in schools with affluent PTAs," as New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg tweeted Tuesday.
Others on Twitter criticized it as a stopgap to a larger problem of workers having to extend their workdays and called for more accommodations for workers with children.
For Gods sake everyone Kamala Harris is not trying to make your kids go to school until 6 pm! She wants to fund aftercare programs of the kind that already exist in public schools with affluent PTAs.
- Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) November 6, 2019
Most schools in large and/or wealthy districts have afterschool options for enrichment ranging from sports to band to the arts. The schools are open the exact same hours Kamala Harris is proposing. It allows for extra tutoring or a hobby or a safe place to socialize
- ❄Mikki Kendall❄ (@Karnythia) November 7, 2019
i'm open to being convinced the other way but this idea seems... exactly wrong, to me?https://t.co/sp3Pg6pEDt
- Turkbert Cransauceko (@AlbertBurneko) November 6, 2019
Kids need to spent less time in school and adults need to spend less time at work. There's an obvious solution to that gap that is the opposite of Kamala Harris' big plan.
- David Sessions (@davidsess) November 6, 2019
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kamala Harris: Bill may extend school day until 6 p.m. with programs