Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressmen Filemon Vela and Joe Morelle announced The Family Friendly Schools Act, legislation they introduced in the House of Representatives to examine how we can better align students’ schedules with that of their parent or guardian to improve educational and social outcomes, particularly for low-income families. Senator Kamala Harris has introduced the same legislation as a companion bill in the United States Senate.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the way we work, how our children go to school and the time we spend at home with our families.  Working families of color have been particularly affected by the instability and strain that the COVID-19 crisis has caused in our daily lives, said Congressman Filemon Vela. “I am proud to join Congressman Morelle and Senator Harris in introducing this transformative and important piece of legislation aimed at improving the lives of working parents and famili“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated our childcare crisis, underscoring the need for transformative changes to our educational system that put families first and help children succeed,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “The inconsistencies between the school day and the workday often force a parent or guardian into a financially burdensome decision: paying for childcare or cutting hours at work—choices that are particularly difficult for low-income families and hourly workers. I’m proud to introduce this common-sense legislation to help ensure every student and their family has the opportunity to thrive.”

Throughout the United States, the average school day ends around 3 p.m., well short of the traditional business day at 5 p.m. This means that if a parent or guardian leaves work two hours early five days per week to either pick their child up or be home when their child gets off the bus, they are potentially forgoing 40 hours of pay – or roughly 25 percent of their monthly income. Especially for low-income families and families in poverty, that can be the difference between putting food on the table, paying the heating bill, or making that month’s rent—all factors that contribute to the overall learning environment of their child.