Many systems have talked about cutting back school days to save money. Here is a statement from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators on the issue:
While we certainly are sympathetic to local systems that are looking for every possible avenue to cut costs during the current economic crisis, we believe that going to a four day school week has more downside than upside.
First of all, our students, particularly those who are struggling to succeed, need more – not less – time for their studies. We believe that all students can learn, but they do not all learn at the same pace. Reducing teaching and learning time for students is not the way to go in our view. Already our students have one of the shortest school years in the world and reducing it further cannot help but degrade the quality of their education.
Secondly, we are kidding ourselves if we believe that by adding marginally to the length of the other four days –a few minutes here or there – we are actually making up for lost instructional time or student time on task. There is a limit to what a student can absorb in a given day and it is doubtful that a few extra minutes of math, for example, will help a struggling student master a difficult concept.
Third, the savings generated by such a move hardly equal the loss in instructional time and severely punish the lowest paid employees in the school system. Students and teachers are going to “pay” the costs of the lost day in the weeks, months and years to come. The money saved by cutting the hours of bus drivers and cafeteria workers will not offset those educational “costs” and will do real economic harm to the households of lower paid staff who can ill afford the loss, particularly during this economic crisis.
We strongly encourage systems that are considering this option to fully discuss and review with their communities the points we have raised. It is understandable, but no less regrettable, that we are moving from how best to educate our students to how cheaply we can do it.