Ah, the five-day school week. The good ol’ Monday through Friday is a childhood education standard. Right? Um, maybe not. One Colorado district recently adopted a four-day school week. Oh wait. It wasn’t just one district. It seems like the four-day school week is growing in popularity, and here’s where (and of course, why) it’s making waves.
The 27J school district in Adams County, Colorado recently made news for switching to a four-day week. The change won’t technically happen until fall of 2018, but it’s a major departure from what we’ve all come to know and love (or dread) about school. Likewise, Colorado’s district 60, in Pueblo City, is also adopting a four-day week. Again, their decision is set to save the schools financially. According to a report in The Pueblo Chieftain, district 60 is anticipating potential cost savings that could reach $1.4 million a year.
There’s been no shortage of much-deserved media attention being given to teachers, their pay and the ability for them serve their students to the best of their abilities. Oklahoma has recently gained national attention for its ongoing teacher walkout, now entering its seventh day as of Monday. Oklahoma teachers have walked out of schools in some of the state’s biggest school districts—and it’s not like they have unreasonable demands.
Teachers want to be paid a livable wage: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Oklahoma pays its teachers the lowest salaries in the United States. But more importantly, teachers have demanded that the state allocates funds to the schools who desperately need most. On social media, teachers and students have posted sobering photos of broken chairs, collapsing desks, textbooks that are falling apart and other instances of decrepit conditions inside public schools.
In addition to underfunded schools substantially lacking in basic resources like books, chairs and desks, more than 200 schools in 91 districts in the state—about a fifth of Oklahoma school districts—have 4-day school weeks, CBS News reported late last month. Like Colorado, Oklahoma school districts can’t afford to keep the schools open 5 days a week to pay its teachers.
Now here’s the big question that we’re pretty sure plenty of parents will be asking, “Who watches the kids when mom, dad or mom and dad go to work on that fifth school/work day?” At least in Adams County, Colorado, the district has come up with a solution and plans to offer child care services for $30 a day. Sure it’s great that they’re willing to offer child care, but kids go to school to receive an education, not just to be entertained and kept busy until parents or guardians come home from work. There’s a reason they’re called schools and not daycare.
And while Adams County has tried to mitigate the effects a 4-day school week has on parents, it doesn’t help the thousands of other families in states like Oklahoma who have affected by school weeks cut short due to a lack of funding.
What do you think about a four-day school week? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
—Erica Loop, with additional reporting by Keiko Zoll
Featured photo: Taken via Pixabay