Monday Weisblog: Shortened school weeks just the beginning?

Florida, along with every other state in the union, is looking for ways to reduce their ever-growing budgetary deficits. This seems to happen a lot, and one of the places that always tends to get cut is the educational system, despite the guarantees we’ve had from our politicians that a percentage of the Florida Lottery monies would go directly to the educational system coffers.

schoolIn their latest efforts to save money, a proposal that would bring about a great deal of change may soon be on the table. There is a strong possibility that, starting as soon as next year, Florida schools will be moving from five school days per week to four. That means the four days will be longer and more hectic.

By the way, regardless of where you live – Florida or otherwise – chances are your state is considering this cost-cutting move, too. Just do a Google or Yahoo search on “four day school weeks” and see what happens.

With that said, I’d like everyone’s opinion on what they think about this idea. Before you give your opinion, though, I want you to thoughtfully consider the residual consequences this could have on our society as a whole both long-term and short-term.

It would alter the schedules of teachers, babysitters, day care workers, bus drivers, school administrative staff, food service providers and a whole lot more. In addition, one of the biggest concerns for me is that there would unquestionably be a big-time backlash if this idea doesn’t work, necessitating a return to the five-day week.

Then there’s the trickle-down effect. I believe corporate America, with an eye toward savings of their own, will also have a sharp eye on whether or not this plan succeeds. People working in factories and plants are already doing this with more than a modicum of success, and employees seem to love the additional day off during the week, not to mention the savings on gas for those who don’t work from their homes.

Long story short, I think it’s worth a try with this caveat: The level of education simply cannot be allowed to suffer as a result. We are not ranked high worldwide in education as it is … but on the flip side, one of the chief complaints of Americans is that we don’t have enough family time.

It’s going to be difficult on the kids, too. I remember how short my attention span was when I was young (yes, amazing as it seems, I can remember that far back). It was difficult to hold my attention on a regular school day, much less adding another period or two to it. Can our school systems pull it off? Only time will tell.

Of course, this whole idea might be voted down never come to pass. But I tend to believe it will. What do you think? Please give me your opinions … especially if you are a teacher or a parent of school-age children.


One response to “Monday Weisblog: Shortened school weeks just the beginning?

  1. A four day school week will probably never come to pass. It would be a huge undertaking and most families would not like it. Right now, kids are required to go to school for 180 days. The school year is measured in days, not in hours. Furthermore, I can’t see kindergarten students in school for that many hours. It doesn’t seem developmentally appropriate for a five year old.
    On the otherhand, as a teacher, I would welcome extra hours in the day, as there never seems to be enough time in the day for everything I want my fourth grade students to do.
    I doubt that a 4 day week will ever happen. It’s too complicated for “those in charge.” Too much work involved. The legislators want an easy fix, but sadly, there doesn’t seem to be one for the growing financial crisis in education funding.
    Oh well, at least people are talking about it…That’s a start…

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