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Kamala Harris Wants To Extend School Day To 6 P.M. To Support Working Families

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris has just introduced a new bill intended to help take some of the strain of finding childcare off parents who work 9-5 jobs.

According to CNN, the Family Friendly Schools Act would extend school hours to better lineup with the workday by creating in-school activities. This way, schools would stay open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As Harris explained, most American schools end at 3 p.m., a full two hours before the average work day is over.

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This misalignment often leaves parents stuck trying to find after-school care or programs for their children, which Harris said can put serious strain on those working parents and guardians.

According to the press release, "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."

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As per the legislation, $5 million would be awarded to school districts to implement new programs in elementary schools with low-income families.

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Those programs would fall under three categories: academic, athletic, or "enrichment opportunities" for students.

The legislation would also keep schools open during parent-teacher conferences and personal development days, with exceptions for federal holidays, weekends, and emergencies.

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Harris said this proposed bill is actually quite close to her heart.

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"My mother raised my sister and me while working demanding, long hours," she explained 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."

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Under this legislation, some 500 schools would become "Family Friendly Schools."

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It's important to note that the 7-hour academic day wouldn't change, but would rather see an extra three hours added for after-school activities. Additionally, students wouldn't be forced to stay during the extended hours.

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Harris' bill is sponsored by Democratic U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Michael Bennet.

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Various organizations have also sponsored the bill, including the American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress, and the National Association of Elementary School Principles.

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However, not everyone is in support of this bill, particularly "The View" co-host, Whoopi Goldberg.

On Thursday's episode, Goldberg denounced Harris' proposal and claimed a 10-hour school day would make children feel like they're being "institutionalized."

"I think keeping a kid in school until 6:00 is like institutionalizing them because ... a lot of these buildings do not have gymnasiums," she explained. "A lot of these buildings do not have a place to have after-school programs."

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Goldberg's co-host, Joy Behar, disagreed and said she actually thinks the extended hours are a good idea.

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She argued that this measure would prevent kids from wasting their time on video games when they get home.

"Because you're letting them out early — all they're doing is going home, playing video games, and going on their phones."

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