We wouldn’t have expected ourselves to back a new spending plan from a presidential primary candidate, and certainly not in the present atmosphere where trillions of dollars in new taxes are being proposed to support programs of such vast government overreach that it staggers the mind.
But we had to pause when Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a slumping candidate in the Democratic primary, suggested a modest pilot program to study expanding the school day from its traditional ending time of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This actually could be helpful, and it’s worth considering.
Harris’ proposal would see a small number of participating school districts receive $5 million in grants over five years to help some low-income elementary schools develop after-school programs that would keep kids learning and active until a parent or guardian gets off work.
The program would be studied for its impact on parents, children and schools and depending on its outcome, could be considered for greater funding in the future.
Don’t get us wrong. We don’t think schools should raise children. Parents should. And in a more perfect society, perhaps, children could have greater free time to roam and explore their world.
We are kidding ourselves to believe we live in such a society. Many kids are simply transferred from school to some off-site after-school care when the bell rings. Others ride the bus to an empty home and wait for Mom or Dad’s workday to end.
For too many working parents, the hours between the end of school and the end of work (not to mention the commute home) are fraught with concern about getting quality care if they can even begin to afford that in the first place.
Harris’ policy recognizes that reality and its particular impact on low-income communities where children are most vulnerable. And it approaches a proposed solution in a sound fashion — a slow and integral study in interested communities.
Our surprise at our interest in this plan is surpassed only by our surprise at the reaction of progressive media and, of course, far-left social media.
They hate Harris’ plan because it would actually help working parents work, as if a 40-hour workweek qualifies as the depth of capitalist cruelty.
“Rather than reshaping society to accommodate the needs of workers, Harris’ plan appears designed to keep more people working for longer, suiting the interests of their employers and using gestures towards community input as a smokescreen,” writes Brendan O’Connor in Vice.
O’Connor carries on to conclude — and this isn’t parody — that slowing economic productivity would be great because it “could reduce climate-harming emissions.”
Tell that to people who need a paycheck to cover the rent and groceries.
Harris’ plan actually is accommodating “workers,” or people as we like to call them. And what’s more, it might give their children the advantage of greater learning and extracurricular activities that are too often not available in lower-income schools.