Education News/Trending Parenting Politics/Community

People! Kamala Harris Does NOT Want Kids To Go To School For 10 Hours

“Kamala Harris” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Few things are certain in life, but knee-jerk responses to the headlines of articles nobody bothered reading on the internet are definitely one of those things. Case in point: This week’s news that Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California has introduced a bill that would keep schools open between at least the hours of 8 am and 6 pm.

OF COURSE people jumped on the rage train immediately, with many assuming the intent of this bill is to make an extended school day a mandatory requirement for all students and teachers. Just some of the many comments on social media links to articles web-wide include:

This woman is crazy! If kids were at school until 6pm, they wouldn’t get to bed until about 11pm and not get the sleep their growing brains need!

Kids are exhausted at 3:00 , plus that leaves no time for extra curricular activities, tutoring, family time or even just being kids and playing.

Is there a problem that needs to be fixed with current school hours? Quit grasping at straws and get to work. You are grossly overcompensated for poor performance. The American people are sick and tired of it.

nope mine are not stay late cause in not worry about my kids late night yall need lay of the crazy pill

No way! I would homeschool if that happens!

What many commenters failed to grasp, which they could have easily done if they had ACTUALLY READ THESE ARTICLES, is that Harris is not proposing we force teachers and students to continue learning content until 6 pm. Instead, her bill proposes to ease the burden of after-school care on working families — particularly low-income families without adequate means of childcare — by providing enrichment opportunities funded through grants and staffed by volunteer teachers and other educational staff who would be compensated fairly for their additional work.

Harris’ plan…says caregiving responsibilities cost the U.S. economy $55 billion in lost productivity each year by causing one million women with elementary-school-age children to work less than full time.

Under Harris’ plan, schools would work with community partners to develop academic, athletic, or enrichment opportunities for students from ‘at least’ 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

This is not a new concept. Schools in more affluent communities have been hosting after-school enrichment programs for students for decades, and the results are positive. According to a Nellie Mae Education report titled Critical Hours: Afterschool Programs and Educational Success:

Afterschool programs can’t change students’ school experiences, but they can provide alternative environments that may be more in tune with young people’s interests, motivations and needs. Programs may provide opportunities for the kind of personal attention from adults that young people crave, a positive peer group, and activities that hold their interest and build their self-esteem. Adolescents are most likely to be in a state of intense,sustained engagement during certain activities—art, sports, games, hobbies, and other structured voluntary activities. It is this “flow” experience that builds intrinsic motivation and initiative.

Unfortunately, these programs are not available to everyone, and children of working parents, especially those in low-income areas, miss out on these opportunities:

All youth do not have equal access to afterschool programs, lessons or activities.

Children in more affluent communities, often located in the suburbs, have access to a wide variety of enrichment activities. Young people who live in a lower-resource inner city or rural environment are much less likely to have access to such activities, especially if they take place outside of school. Data on eighth graders from the National Education Longitudinal Study indicates that only 17 percent of those in the highest income quartile had no involvement in extracurricular activities compared to 40 percent of students in the lowest income quartile.

Despite 40 years of education reform, the achievement gap—the differences in school performance between rich and poor children,between children in affluent communities and those living in poor communities, and between white children and Asian on one hand, and African American and Latino children on the other—persists.

Not only would Harris’s plan ease the burden of childcare on working families, but it would also increase workforce productivity, reduce economic loss, AND provide children in need with the types of after-school opportunities proven to bridge the achievement gap.

While funding of such programs remains a sticking point for many, Harris’s proposed bill shows promise. And perhaps most importantly? IT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT THAT STUDENTS ATTEND SCHOOL FOR 10 HOURS PER DAY.

Good grief, people. We can disagree with something, but let’s make sure we know what we’re disagreeing with first, OK?