As an increasing number of public school districts consider a four day school week to trim budgets and save jobs, an increasing number of critics rise up to point out that longer school days will not help, but hurt, the students’ education.
Critics point out that tacking on an extra one and a half to two hours of instruction onto the remaining four days makes for tired, unfocused students who cannot learn as well as they can with a five day school week. Critics also point out that although teachers can be retained under this plan, the support staff are the ones who will bear the financial hardship – the bus drivers, janitors and cafeteria workers will have to take a cut in pay.
Parents are not enamored of the shorter school week, as it will not be easy for all parents to find extra childcare. Some parents simply cannot afford the childcare. The four day school week will be a burden on low income families who are ‘too rich’ to qualify for government assistance. And the shortened week will also demand increased funds for government assistance programs which subsidize childcare for families below poverty level.
But administrators are quick to point out that in these challenging financial times, their options are few, and that to continue to provide quality public education for all, the four day school week must be adopted. Parents and critics fear that a shorter school week, now seen as a temporary fix, might become a permanent situation.