While I agree with your point that this is detrimental to professional women in the workplace that are culturally expected to be there to care for their kids… I do worry about how a longer school day would effect the kids themselves. Well, I use the term kid loosely here. Most school systems have the high school end earlier than the middle school which ends earlier than the elementary school to allow older siblings to be home in time to greet younger ones. So the 2:30 end time would most likely refer to high school and middle school students. Or preschool or kindergarten, I suppose, as those have strange hours. The problem is that the days when a student could expect simple good grades to get them into college are gone. Colleges expect applicants to have high grades, volunteer regularly, have a job, play a sport or two, play an instrument (or two or three) and be involved in community activities. When I was in high school I took only AP and Honors courses which each assigning one to two (by the teacher’s estimation which generally assumed complete mastery of the material) hours worth of homework every night, I was in a community theater group, I was in three vocal groups, one of which alone required between 10–16 hours of practice/performance time every week, I took horsebackriding and martial arts classes, I worked as a karate instructor, I mentored children from inner city Wilmington, performed in two bands playing the trumpet, learned to speak German, took vocal lessons, maintained a 4.5 GPA, a social life and presumably slept on occasion. My work was rewarded with a full tuition scholarship, but I clearly remember being exhausted, despite my wicked time management skills. An extended school day would likely not allow for a lowering of expectations for students. They need every hour of “free” time they can get in order to finish all the homework and practice and extra-curricular activities required.
Of course, for the younger kids school could be extended by allowing more recess. But instead you would likely just get longer classes and more stressed students which leads to more stressed parents.
Nice thought though. If we could get schools to accept that students can’t actually fit 7 hours of school, 7–14 hours of homework (depending on the classes) an hour of band, an hour or two of sports practice, two hours of choir, and the recommended eight hours of sleep for a growing person into a single 24 hour period (here I only included the actual school sponsored activities and left out things like volunteer work -actually often a high school graduation requirement- and a job and any hobbies the student may have) then your plan would work wonders. It really would.
Sorry for the rant. I had to walk my aunt through these things today because she didn’t understand why her 16 year old daughter was so stressed.