Senator Kamala Harris is dropping in the presidential polls to get the Democratic National Committee nomination. Without admitting defeat and dropping out, she’s committed to going down in history for doing something. As such, she has a new shiny bill with her name all over it to introduce to the Senate. Only, it’s the worst idea ever.
Harris admits that her mother struggled to raise her and her sibling throughout the years because of having to work a full-time job. Harris is looking to help all of those other parents out by making sure that they can work while making sure that their kids are looked after.
No, she’s not looking to create some kind of free after-school program.
Senator Harris of California is looking to create a bill that would extend elementary education until 6 PM. Right now, most elementary schools around the country are out by 3 PM. Some are out even earlier. Harris feels that this puts an unnecessary burden on parents who work full-time jobs and can’t get to their kids before 6 PM.
Harris’ new bill would call for an extension of school hours. Her plan is that students would start at 8 AM and end at 6 PM. That would add an average of three hours to the school day for children, making it an extremely long day. She’s only concerned with elementary schools as that is where the kids are the youngest and cannot look out for themselves.
What Harris fails to realize is that not all parents work until 6 PM. There are also many after-hours programs in place so that parents can continue to work while getting their children the care that they need.
The bill would keep children the extra three hours a day while providing a state-funded dinner to the children. By doing so, however, she also takes away family dinners five out of seven nights a week. Many family psychologists have already acknowledged that there isn’t enough time for children to bond with their families throughout the week. Eliminating five dinners a week with families could make it even harder for parents to spend time with their kids.
There’s another aspect that Harris hasn’t taken into consideration with her bill: extracurricular activities. Many elementary school students are involved in music, sports, and other extracurricular activities. If they are kept in school until 6 PM, this eliminates the ability for them to participate in such things. It takes away from their socialization as well as their ability to learn a skill that isn’t taught in school.
Even working parents can’t possibly want school hours to be extended by three hours a day, keeping kids in the classroom an extra 15 hours a week. Harris’ bill is designed to “better align” with the schedules of parents. This might have been the case 10 or 20 years ago. However, more parents than ever have the ability to telecommute. With cloud computing and other technologies, more parents are able to work from home.
While the bill targets low-income and working families, it doesn’t help those who don’t fall into those categories – and she has not identified whether the additional three hours would be mandatory or not.
She has also talked about five-year grants of up to $5 million going to local education agencies in order to push the average school day, giving it to 500 schools. Would the 500 schools be the test subjects? How are these 500 schools chosen since there are low-income schools located all over the country?
Kamala Harris may feel as though she has to prove something to the country by coming up with something outside of the box. She’s been falling in polls, so she needs a way for the country to remember what she has contributed. It sounds like she needs to go back to the drawing board with this bill because it doesn’t provide enough details. It doesn’t provide enough solutions. It doesn’t address the real problems that are facing kids and their parents at school.
If she were to drop out of the democratic primaries race, maybe it would give her some time to talk to schools around the country and learn about the real problems – like not having enough teachers, not having enough time to teach core curriculum, and not having enough money for the technologies that students need.
Keeping kids in the school can’t possibly be the solution for students, teachers, or parents in today’s day and age. 15 hours more inside of a school building is not the way to modernize the education system.