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Schools trying out 4-day weeks

With budgets getting tighter and tighter some schools are looking at 4-day weeks instead of 5. The fear, of course, is that students will miss out on the education they’re supposed to be getting if their week is shortened.

Personally I like the idea of a 4-day work week.  It would be great to have Fridays off even if it did mean longer days Monday through Thursday. But professionally I have a few issues with it.

First, while it probably wouldn’t hurt the teachers and administrators financially, hourly district employees would take a hit since they’d be working one less day a week.  These are your custodians, bus drivers, and other support staff that aren’t making much to begin with.

Second, the idea of lengthening the day is troublesome.  Students are already exhausted from having to be mentally on for 7 or 8 hours.  By the time last period rolls around most students are out of energy. Finishing school 2 or 3 hours later in the day would make the problem even worse.

And worst is that there doesn’t seem to be any conclusive studies about the effect on students; at least, according to the Wall Street Journal article.  It may wind up that a 4-day week is beneficial for students, but without research to back it up districts are making decision solely with dollar signs and not what’s in the best interest of the kids.

Now, odds are pretty good we’re not talking about the school down the street from you going to 4-day weeks.  It’s about 100 of the roughly 15,000 school districts in the country.  I guess depending on how the students do at those schools and what kind of money it saves the idea of a 4-day week may spread.  Or it may disappear.

Link: Wall Street Journal

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