A shorter school week presents its fair share of pros and cons
Beginning this fall, the new academic schedule for Denver-area school district 27J has cut the school week down to just four days. Which means every single weekend is a three-day weekend — you can actually hear the Colorado kids cheering if you listen closely enough.
But the parents? Not so much.
Since the school week will be shortened, the school days will be extended by about an hour each day. Elementary kids begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:30, while middle and high schoolers will go to school from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Which, to be honest, doesn’t really sound all that bad. It gives students more time for extracurricular activities, tutoring sessions, and can allow them to spend more time with their families — which can definitely give kids the motivational boost to get through that extra hour during their school days. This district will join about 100 other districts in the state of Colorado who have already transitioned to a shorter school week.
All the “pros” for the schedule change present a very compelling argument in favor of a shortened week. But logistics for working parents presents a bit of an issue, as well as school buses who have to also accommodate area schools that still operate on the traditional schedule. Childcare for younger children during the extra weekday off is, understandably, a major concern for local parents. The school district plans to offer childcare for a daily rate of $30.
It would also be remiss to not mention the fact that by cutting back one day per week, school districts can save a lot of money. Tracy Rudnick, the public information officer for 27J, thinks the new schedule will be beneficial in retaining good teachers.”Our teachers are the lowest paid in the area,” she tells Buzzfeed. “This can help retain highly qualified teachers, giving them more time in the day for development and to plan and prepare. We realize teachers are doing this on their own personal time.”
While there’s little doubt the students are probably rejoicing at the thought of permanent three-day weekends, parents everywhere shared their thoughts on the possibility of a shorter school week.
We actually had this in Hawaii public schools back in 2009 because of the budget problem. They called it furlough Friday’s. It was very unpopular (not for the kids) test scores were affected quite a bit too.— Kenji (@KenjisPhotos) March 23, 2018
Been 4 days all my kids school career. It has been wonderful. Family time, time for pursuit of extra curriculars, jobs, as a school board member it was a real incentive to find and keep teachers, professional development.— SusanS (@bertx2) March 19, 2018
Some who are in favor of the shorter school week are also in favor of a shorter work week for parents. Which, TBH, extremely same.
I think this is great–know if we can get higher wages and short work weeks for working parents https://t.co/t2pHCSrqKf
— Cade (@ceid_donn) March 27, 2018
Many people felt that if schools were properly funded in the first place, then teacher retention and cutting costs through shorter weeks wouldn’t even be a thing.
This allows School districts to pay teachers less & we end up with a lot of unqualified teachers that don’t last in the field. I have a masters in sped And I’m looking for another career because of the pay— (Lisa) Asst Treasurer of the Deep State, MA Sped (@Lisa_VoteBlue) March 27, 2018
That's the problem. You shouldn't have to get a second job. This country has the money to fund education! Try taking some out of the defense budget and fund the damn schools and pay teachers what they deserve!— Mary Richards (@SunnyHamrick) March 27, 2018
…And other parents just aren’t on board with this at all.
no fuck this my kids are suffering just like I did/ I refuse to have to spend an additional day with them. https://t.co/JuxfGtTKbM
— T’ Aylor (@tdeadass) March 27, 2018
Prepare for kids who are even further behind, more exhausted, and have heavier homework loads. https://t.co/5XQ7N4JjtL
— Little Lady, Katie🖕🏼|| [TSL][Stream AZ] (@AngstAttack) March 27, 2018
In looking at the bigger picture of the impact of a shorter week, it’s hard to see how losing out on one day every week could literally ruin children’s lives. But less days in school can mean more pressure to get assignments done sooner, but with less time at home for homework and studying during the week — that could leave a lot of kids feeling the stress.
“I realize this will be a significant change for our students, their families, and the communities we are so fortunate to serve, but our district can no longer be expected to do more with less financial resources,” said 27J Superintendent Dr. Chris Fiedler told Denver 7 News. “We are 100% committed to providing our students with the necessary skills and competencies that will enable a future far beyond graduation.”