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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

4-day school weeks are spreading, but students learn less

More schools -- and not just in rural areas -- are adopting four-day weeks, reports AP's Heather Hollingsworth. Districts hope the change will save money, though savings are modest, and help with teacher recruitment.


How will students use an extra day off? Photo: Kampus Production/Pexels

In Independence, Missouri, where Monday is now a vacation day, Brandi Pruente leaves her 13-year-old in charge of two younger children while she teaches in a neighboring district with a five-day week.


Independence offers child care for $30 a day per child, but not in every school, and serves meals, but not at every school.


"Starting in October, struggling students will be able to attend school on Mondays for extra help," Hollingsworth writes. The district hopes those students will catch up, and that older students will be more likely to take community college classes.


Thirty percent of Missouri districts have moved to a four-day schedule with longer school days.


Parents will figure out the child care, says Superintendent Dale Herl. “You have to go back and look, you know, what do parents do during the summertime? What do they do over, you know, spring break or Christmas break?”


A four-day week is surprisingly popular with elementary parents, a RAND study found. Are more of them working at home?


However, student achievement suffers, conclude Christopher Doss, Andrea Phillips and Rebecca Kilburn. They looked at a outcomes in Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Third- through eighth-graders in four-day school week districts "fell behind a little every year" in English and math, they warn. "After eight years, the damage to student achievement will about equal that caused, according to some estimates, by the pandemic."


"That worries Karyn Lewis of the research organization NWEA, whose recent study found students are not making up all the academic ground they lost during the pandemic," Hollingsworth reports. “Now is not the time to do anything that threatens the amount of instruction kids are receiving,” she said.


In 27J, a large district near Denver, Superintendent Will Pierce said parents and teachers strongly support the four-day week, which was adopted in 2018. “Quality of life is what they’re reporting,” he said.


However, "test scores dipped slightly" in the district a recent study showed, and "home values also took a hit compared to those in neighboring districts."


Many districts increase the school day by only 30 minutes, which isn't enough to make up for the loss of an instructional day, says Paul Thompson, an Oregon State professor. Achievement declines.



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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Sep 28, 2023

"Now is not the time to do anything that threatens the amount of instruction kids are receiving,"


Unintentionally hillarious

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Guest
Sep 28, 2023

At the high school level, do the sports teams still practice five days a week. Does the marching band practice five days a week. Does the debate team, choir, or other student groups involved in competition still meet five days a week? This seems a way to just make it harder for poorer students where both parents work to participate in any resume building activity at school.

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Guest
Sep 27, 2023

I'm amazed at the 'They can do what they do during the summer' statement. What many parents do during the summer is send their kids to camp. In our area there are all sorts of day camps, from pricey to subsidized. Many are staffed by college students or older high school kids. These are all people looking for summer jobs, but I'm guessing that the number of people who could be hired to supervise kids on Mondays is much smaller.


Kids can learn with all sorts of models. But, they have to make sense. Lots of homeschoolers do field trips or some other outing once/week and do seat-work academics in 4. The work that younger kids do can be …


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Guest
Sep 27, 2023
Replying to

I've volunteered at a summer day program locally. Our area has subsidized programs that charge on a sliding scale - like, they are fed the prepackaged government-provided boxed lunches and are thrilled when church groups provide pizza or tacos for 100 kids. They try to provide some enrichment, with weekly or every-other-week trips to do things like the zoo or swim at a city pool. Some offer tutoring for kids struggling with reading - it just depends on the strengths of the workers and what they can find volunteers to do. I've helped with reading and served lunch at a program. They usually take place at the same places that have afterschool programs (Boys and Girls Club or similar non-prof…


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Guest
Sep 26, 2023

Honestly I must infer that there are forces at work intent on destroying education systems.


Latest salvo from Scientific American asserts phonics is the most prevalent method of instruction, (in practice, if not in law, a false claim) disses phonics (claim: "months are spent teaching children how to decode a minute set of simple, three-letter words like man, cat and bus that can be sounded out".) then praising Dolch Word sight reading (claim: "Overlearning to Automaticity (OtA) is the key to less-skilled children mastering reading. It requires multiple exposures to a word: typically 20 to 30 exposures on each of about 200 carefully selected words ") and asserting that learning those 200 words during a full year of school i…


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Guest
Sep 27, 2023
Replying to

The adults can't help it. They were trained that way. And it is more than a century long tradition.


"The tendency of the (normal) training school," says President Millis, "is to make the teacher self-conscious, concerned about her own performance, about whether she did this or that in the approved way, whether her voice was properly modulated, whether she utilized illustrative and supplementary material in due proportion, whether she followed copy faithfully, whether she got standardized results. The tendency of supervision is to produce the same attitude of the teacher. The success of the teacher is graded on her scholarship, her culture, her standardized attainments, her questioning, her care of the property, her attitude toward the community and the system,…

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Guest
Sep 26, 2023

Students learn less in 4 days than in 5?


BREAKING NEWS! Water is wet.


--mrmillermathteacher

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