Thanks to new statistics concerning the average work hours for parents in their districts, schools are realizing that school hours aren’t set up for the majority of parents’ schedules – something that working parents are hoping will change very soon. 70 percent of parents of school aged children work outside of the home from the hours of 8am to 5pm, and the other 30 percent either do not work or work outside of those hours.
Schools also realize that they are closed for 29 days out of the school year – while most parents only have a week or two of paid vacation, sick leave, or holiday time, not including the parents who work part time and have even less time off available to care for young children when school is out on holiday.
Parents who are required to pay for childcare outside of the school hours costs nearly $7,000 per year – a devastating amount for lower income families – and the school days end more than two hours before the work day ends.
Restructuring the average school day to reflect the average work day isn’t as easy as it sounds, but there are options.
Lengthening the school days, accepting volunteers from colleges or community members to host after school programs, limiting holidays to major holidays only, and looking to major corporations in the area when deciding to close a school due to inclement weather may ease the burden on working parents.
A decision to host parent-teacher conferences through Skype (video chat) may be the easiest step forward, with lengthening school days and limiting holidays following. As for the rest, we’ll just have to wait and see.
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