Still, there are some significant assumptions in this diagnosis and Harris’ response that merit scrutiny. Chief among them is the notion that if school is shorter than work, we should make school longer instead of making work shorter. This is so both individually (many parents may want to leave at 3 to see more of their kids and less of their coworkers) and economy-wide (the average office drone works just three of eight hours in a day, and a shorter workweek has been found to correlate to all sorts of benefits, including the higher productivity Harris wants).
Also unfairly assumed is the wisdom of structuring — and, specifically, permitting the state to control the structuring of — ever more of children’s lives. Harris is not the only Democratic candidate moving in this direction. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as well as former HUD Secretary Julian Castro all back “a ‘community school’ model that would provide extended learning time and after-school programs in addition to other social services,” the Mother Jones story notes. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s terrible mandatory national service idea for young adults arguably belongs in this category, too.