>>Districts Explore Shorter School Week – WSJ.com
Posted March 8, 2010on:
American children have the shortest school year in the world with 180 days a year and 6-7 hours a days. Considering lunch, breaks between classes and the time spent settling down and ready for a new class that may leave 4-5 hours a day for actual teaching and study. Then given the long summer vacation and the month or so needed to review previous years learning before continuing, “snow days lost”, teacher “work days”. W3e must also consider the several weeks lost at the end of the year when classes are doing end of year closing down and inventory plus the inattention of the students in antiscipation of vacation. Well, you get the picture. So this newest fad in education is going to be devastating to our children.
Of course cities and counties wouldn’t consider cutting the administrative staffs (we in Guilford County, NC could cut the administration by 50% and never miss them!) or perhaps cutting some other city services or staffs perhaps at city hall. No, the cuts are always made in the classrooms first with teachers aids and then with teaching materials and now with teaching hours.
A small but growing number of school districts across the country are moving to a four-day week, in a shift they hope will help close gaping budget holes and stave off teacher layoffs, but that critics fear could hurt students’ education.
State legislators and local school boards are giving administrators greater flexibility to set their academic calendars, making the four-day slate possible. But education experts say little research exists to show the impact of shortened weeks on learning. The missed hours are typically made up by lengthening remaining school days.
honoluluadvertiser.comStudents in Hawaii protest a teacher furlough day at the state capitol Jan. 29.
Of the nearly 15,000-plus districts nationwide, more than 100 in at least 17 states currently use the four-day system, according to data culled from the Education Commission of the States. Dozens of other districts are contemplating making the change in the next year—a shift that is apt to create new challenges for working parents as well as thousands of school employees.
What can one say? This is education in the United States. This is what our citizens have accepted and allowed to happen. The 180 days of school was set a century ago and even in today’s high tech world our nation has failed to keep up. Now we are considering going backwards. BB