Archive for March, 2010

The Four Day School Week: Can It Work?

I read an article on schools that have chosen to institute a 4-day school week to save money. The article didn’t explicitly take a stance, in favor or against, but most of the quotes in the article were complaints about the problems caused, and in the comment section underneath the article, people were even more vehemently opposed. Personally, I think that people need to approach the idea with open minds, and we should allow the schools that are already doing it to continue until we can get some data about success rates. There have been schools doing this out west since the 80s, so why have we not determined if this works yet?

The cons are all over this article (childcare issues, loss of income for support staff, longer school day), so I thought I would try to think of a few pros (I’m contrary like that). There would be less transition time, like the beginning and end of the day, as well as one less lunch and maybe recess at the elementary levels, and fewer homerooms at the secondary level. The energy savings could be sufficient, and the extra day off could be used for many things. And, honestly, who wouldn’t love a three day weekend every week, even if it means you have to work longer days? I haven’t formed a personal opinion, and I acknowledge that many of the concerns the article mentions are significant. I just know that to solve problems we are going to have to think outside the box, and we can’t dismiss a possible solution as easily as many of the complainers in the comments section of the article seem to. Let’s try to be less reactionary and more creative.

Articles I Read:

Wall Street Journal – Schools’ New Math: The Four-Day Week

NY Daily News – UFT charter’s stats don’t fill the bill

L.A. Times – L.A. teachers gain control of 22 campuses in reform effort

Time Magazine – The Case Against College Education