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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


Education Spending? Is it too much? Is it enough?

The school district where I work is facing significant budget cuts, like many in the state. So the article that I read that held the most interest for me currently was a conservative blog entry about the increased federal spending on education. The article’s main point was that increased spending and increased performance are not related, and it generally frowned upon the increase: “Unfortunately, the sacred cow of education has been spared of the spending freeze.” (It’s a safe guess that the writer is not in the education field.)

I obviously have a different view of the situation. The teacher I am subbing for has been told her job is on the line in this next round of budget cuts. So I’m looking at this proposed increase in spending and asking, “When is it going to get here?” I hope it’s soon enough to save my colleague’s job.

The problem is, of course, is that most of the funding for schools comes from the state level and not the federal government. States have been hit hard by the recession (decreased tax revenue from both sales and property tax, I’m sure), and that is finally starting to show in education. The sooner we can get this federal money into school systems, to make a difference and save jobs, the better.

Articles I’ve Read:

Time Magazine “Why We’re Failing Our Schools”

New York Times “Experts Say a Rewrite of Nation’s Main Education Law Will Be Hard This Year”

Boston Globe “Obama education overhaul well received”

The Foundry “Budget 2011: Education Spending Skyrockets”

Test Post!!! 1/20

Here is a test post where I’m trying to live link.  Let’s see if it works!

Great Music Ed Quotes

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