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Is a 4-Day School Week in America’s Future?

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Is a 4-Day School Week in America’s Future?

Is a 4-Day School Week in America’s Future?
August 16
16:23 2018

Colorado School District 27J is following a growing trend in public school education — switching over to a four-day school week – giving kids Monday off and a three-day weekend. It will require approval by the Colorado Department of Education. According to School Superintendent Chris Fiedler, the district will save a cool $1 million every year in teacher salaries, transportation, and utilities.

The concept is spreading out west with school districts that currently have about 140 days of school per year. Ponder that for a moment. That means kids attending school – and teachers working short days – barely one-third of the year.

Since teachers will work a half day on Monday and slightly longer hours on Tuesday through Friday, there does not seem to be any saving in teacher salaries – and besides, most teachers work on salary, not hourly wages. As a person who has been involved in negotiating more than one teacher strike, I can assure you that cutting teacher pay is not going to happen – not as long as they are represented by one of those politically connected teacher unions.

Unless the teachers are going to work in the dark and without air conditioning on Mondays, I am also dubious about the utility cost saving. Feidler projects that the one day per week when the school buses are idle will save $700,000 per year. That is the bulk of the savings. However, one of the rules of such government projections is that costs are always higher than projected and savings lower – usually much lower.

But the money is not even the most important consideration.

For decades, the American public school systems have been failing to keep up with the foreign competition. Check out the school requirements in China, Japan, India and several other nations – and you will see that their student achievements surpass America’s. One of the reasons for this is the union negotiated trend of teachers working less for more pay by shortening the school year.

The District 27J plan calls for 40 minutes to be added to the remaining four school days. That will translate to a maximum of 30 minutes teaching time – and probably not even that. Roughly, that means they have removed one-half of one day of teaching time PER WEEK.

The American education system is increasingly becoming a part-time occupation for teachers and professors and more of a pastime for students – and if that is not bad enough, the curriculum is getting dumbed down. Such terrible policies of “social promotion” – moving a student up a grade without meeting the requirements – have become accepted alternatives to “warehousing children” without providing quality education as has become the norm in inner city schools.

The shortened school week also puts a lot of working parents in a bind. What do they do now that their latchkey children are going to be around for another day of play? This means more expensive day care for the younger students and more older students roaming the streets and malls.

This idea is so bad of a proposal that it was surprising that the Fox and Friends trio on the curvy couch – Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade – all thought it was a grand idea. They thought it would be great to have another day home with the kids – which works for them because they can go home after their early morning broadcast. It’s not so good for working parents with more traditional hours.

In support of the four-day school week, they made the specious claim that the five-day school week makes it harder for kids to “focus.” That is utter nonsense. Those Asian students seem to focus quite well with five and six-day school weeks and longer hours – and a more demanding curriculum.

If we are to compete with the international school systems, we will need to end our trend toward a recreational society and have students engage in a greater number of school hours and teachers assume a more traditional full-time 40-hour work week. We should also be increasing the number of school days instead of decreasing them.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence that Colorado has legalized pot about the same time they came up with this gem of an idea.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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3 Comments

  1. bayoucastine
    bayoucastine August 17, 16:30

    My i offer two other ‘solutions’?

    K/12 school are failing to really educate the children anyway. Shut them down, home schooling for everyone.Think of the “savings”.

    The concept of a 9 month school “year” goes back to rural America and farming.

    It is time to update and keep schools open 12 months of the year. Allow ‘Vacation” time coinciding with the families vacation schedules. Or, break the students into four groups with different “vacations” [time off], one for each season. In other words, keep the schools fully functional all year long. [Smaller class sizes possible?]

    Teachers are [usually] all year long. Better use of these resources as well!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bobseeks
    Bobseeks August 17, 17:02

    Schools should be open 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year without a raise for overpaid teachers. I work in adult education (HiSet) where we try to undo the damage done by the lazy, incompetent, K-12 teachers. The public mis-education system should be purged of liberals and then rebuilt and re-missioned.

    Reply to this comment
  3. JudyB
    JudyB August 18, 13:08

    Liberals want to deconstruct ICE??? I think our broken educational system is in far more need of deconstruction than anything. Facts speak for themselves…our kids are not keeping up with the rest of the civilized world…typical liberal response is to make a bad situation more lenient…doesn’t solve a thing.

    Reply to this comment

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