ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new bill proposed by Congressman Joe Morelle — The Family Friendly Schools Act — is meant to transform the education system to better support working families.

Morelle says school hours and work hours don’t align, forcing families to sacrifice up to 25% of their monthly income to ensure their kids are not left unattended.

“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,” Morelle said in a statement. “The inconsistencies between the school day and the work day 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.”

The Family Friendly Schools Act would fund a pilot program, creating 500 “Family Friendly Schools” that align the school day with the workday to better support working families, and disseminate the lessons learned from these model schools to communities throughout the nation.

More specifically, the program would award five-year grants of up to $5 million total to school districts to transform elementary schools serving a high number of low-income families into “Family Friendly Schools.” 

At the end of the five-year grant period, the Department of Education will publish and disseminate a report on lessons learned from the pilot schools, including:

  • Approaches taken by Family Friendly Schools to align school and work schedules;
  • Survey results on parent, teacher, student, school administrator, and community organization satisfaction with Family Friendly Schools;
  • Changes in parental employment rates, student performance, and teacher retention at each Family Friendly School; and
  • Best practices and recommendations for aligning school and work schedules, aligning school schedules and calendars among schools and school districts, and engaging parents and families.