Four day school week: A very bad idea, according to PAGE

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.


74 comments Add your comment

Teacher

January 26th, 2010
10:51 pm

I actually think 4 day weeks “could” work if we did it correctly. Teachers should still be required to work the full 5 days and Monday could be a designated planning/collaboration/grading day. I honestly think that the overall instructional time would be enhanced simply because teachers would be prepared every single day. One of the biggest differences between our educational system here in America verses more effective systems in other countries is not instructional time, but teacher planning and development time. Other countries (like Japan for example) place high emphasis on teacher development. They allocate resources and time for new teachers to improve and grow. Here in America it is more of a “catch on while you flounder” type of system and new teachers are often given the toughest schedules/kids. If we could spend time preparing and helping our teachers develop their skills, four days of instructional time would be plenty.

Sick Out

January 26th, 2010
10:54 pm

That 5th day would just be spent sitting in useless meetings not planing, grading or parent contacts.

Well . . .

January 26th, 2010
11:08 pm

I honestly would like to see school go to a four day work week, but instead of doing something stupid like adding minutes to each day, we should just go to school longer during the year and have a shorter summer. That obviously does nothing to save money, but I think it could go a long way towards increasing student productivity as it would help avoid teacher and students burnout.

PAGE also argues that students need to work harder and longer. I suppose they ascribe to the idea of “mental exercise” that states that the mind is a muscle that needs to “work out” in order to improve. The only style of “education” that finds that theory to be “successful” is a style where students do the old “skill and drill” in an effort to preform highly on a standardized test. I’d like to take a cross section of successful people Gwinnett County (since they claim to be “the best”) and challenge them to take the 8th grade CRCT and see their scores. Can we all agree that if they cannot preform at the highest level, then something is wrong with the test and the way we educate our youth?

4 day a week, but still 180 days

January 27th, 2010
7:46 am

I think 4-day-week schedule is better if we still maintain 180 school days – thus extending our school year. Such a schedule will give learners a bit more time to reflect on what they are learning.

vivian

January 27th, 2010
8:16 am

I guess PAGE and some of the bloggers didn’t get the memo. THERE IS NO MONEY! I believe cutting the calendar is a whole lot better than putting 40 kids in a classroom.

teacher/parent

January 27th, 2010
8:52 am

We were actually discussing the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of PAGE yesterday since they only seem to continually ‘monitor’ situations. I’m glad I quit their organization a few years ago. The bottom line is, if there is not enough money, then something’s gotta go. Will we pay the price later? Probably, but it seems that’s what Georgians want.

A four day week has other benefits as well. Students could schedule physicals, orthodontic appointments, college visits, etc. on the 5th day and STOP MISSING SO MUCH SCHOOL.

And a preemptive strike about who will watch the kids on the 5th day. Schools are NOT baby sitting services.

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Elizabeth

January 27th, 2010
10:08 am

If the students are there for four days for an extended time, we would get paid for a 5 day week in 4 days. That means that working on the 5th day would be working for no pay. It still amazes me how many teachers do nt realize and understand how and when they are paid. When first hearing about furlough dayos, many of our faculty suggested using part of Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays for these days. WE DO NOT GET PAID FOR THESE DAYS SO THEY COULD NOT BE FURLOUGH DAYS.It also amazes me that teachers do not realize that back in the “good old days” when teachers got pay raises from the legislature, those raises were 2 or 3 per cent of a BEGINNING 4-year teacher’s salary, regardles of how many years you had been working and what your acutal salary was or the number of years and degrees you had accumulated. That is much less of a raise than I , with 2 advanced and 28 years of experience, am entitled to. What other profession pemnalizes its experienced workers like this?

Nature Dude

January 27th, 2010
11:50 am

Sorry,

The main difference in other countries is that school is only compulsory through 8th grade, then they test and are put into tracks. You’d see vast improvements in college prep courses if we did this. You cannot compare the US, where no one gets kicked out of school to other countries where admins play the rule of “my way or the high way” with students. Much of the rest of the world accepts that everyone should not be college tracked, because everyone is not suited for college, but thanks to “No Teacher Left Standing” the idgets in D.C. have been allowed to take control of educational discourse in America while the sheeple sit home and watch American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.

jim d

January 27th, 2010
12:25 pm

Pants on the ground, Nature Dude!

Kawla

January 27th, 2010
12:53 pm

I am homeschooling this year and get a lot done in a few hours a day. What I would really love though, is a school that had the best of both worlds. I would love to send my kids to school a couple of days a week and then have work to do at home the other days. I know that this would not work for a lot of people but that is my dream situation. :) The kids would get the rigor of having to be at school some days and the independence of working alone the others.

what's right for kids???

January 27th, 2010
12:53 pm

Why is it that PAGE seems to be more for the parents than for the teachers? Why does a four day work week not work? Extend the school day, cut the number of days, and you get the same time in class. Little ones would get more PE, more music, more recess. High schoolers would get more time on task with longer classes, and teachers would be able to differentiate instruction more with the longer classes.
I’m not sure that PAGE has its finger on the pulse of education.

HA

January 27th, 2010
1:09 pm

I’m a teacher not a babysitter, but I don’t think anyone will benefit from having adolescents at home, unsupervised, for a full work day. Not everyone has a parent at home. I on’t think this would be a good plan at all. Maybe our politicians could take a pay cut to make up for the lost funds… I don’t have any children, though I pay taxes used for the education of my community’s children- and I would glady pay more property taxes if it kept programs going and professionals working…

jim d

January 27th, 2010
1:22 pm

Ha,

obviously your taxes havent gone up as your home value has slipped into the toilet

handwriting on wall

January 27th, 2010
1:32 pm

No way a four-day week would still include five for teachers. Not saving any money if they still have to pay us and the utility bill for the day.

HA

January 27th, 2010
2:10 pm

Sorry to burst your bubble, jim d. Just bought a foresclosed home in a gated community, got a huge check from the gov’t (Thanks, Obama!) and now I own a home that has 50,000 in instant equity. Homes in my county aren’t losing their value like they must be where you are…

Having said that, I’d happily pay more taxes so that your children have a chance at a decent education. Don’t hate on me because I’m willing to make more sacrifices so that others’ children will benefit.

Pete

January 27th, 2010
4:12 pm

I was amazed that PAGE made this statement yesterday… I did some research at home and found out how four days of school a week worked in several other states. Search the Education Resources Information Center A.K.A. ERIC (http://www.eric.ed.gov/) for four day schedules.. There’s got to be twently plus research artiles on the topic that outline the good and the bad of four days of school a week. Looking at this research made me wonder what PAGE based their recommendation on.

ScienceTeacher671

January 27th, 2010
9:27 pm

teacher/parent, those at my school agree with you. PAGE has been too silent. My coworkers and I agree with them on this issue, but where have they been on the others?

Teacher

January 27th, 2010
11:20 pm

If you work on a furlough day and get hurt–you will not get Worker’s Comp for your injury. Check it out with the Dept of Labor.

Al Jones

January 28th, 2010
8:31 pm

I am a member of PAGE. Often, I’m not sure why. PAGE is dead-wrong in its negative viewpoints offered against a four day school week. First, the amount of lost instructional would be neglible or nonexistent. 1,080 hours is still 1,080 hours regardeless if the week is four, five, or six days. Secondly, the savings would be fairly substantial. Most taxpayers would agree that an 18% savings on daily operations is nothing to sneeze at. It is a myth that American students attend school fewer hours than most countries. Check your facts. Many progressive countries might attend more days but usually attend fewer hours. Lastly, the research indicates that U.S. schools that already have the four day sytem enjoy a slight gain in test scores for whatever reason. PAGE, you are a disappointment and are out of touch with Georgia teachers.

Teacher

January 28th, 2010
8:42 pm

A four-day shool week is an excellent way for school districts to save money. Parents are responsible for babysitting—not the schools! The fifth day could be used for at- home training, such as how to behave on the days that you ars in school.

ScienceTeacher671

January 28th, 2010
9:00 pm

GAE had a rally day at the Capitol last weekend. Next month, PAGE will have a day at the Capitol.

GAE provided transportation for educators in parts of the state more than an hour or so away from Atlanta – that’s convenient and environmentally friendly. GAE’s rally day occured on the weekend, so teachers didn’t have to find substitutes, and children didn’t have to go without quality instruction on that day. However, only a couple of legislators were there, and the press coverage was minimal.

On the other hand, for PAGE’s day, teachers will actually get to meet with lawmakers and may therefore have more influence on the legislative process. However, those teachers will have to find substitutes, and unless they miss more than one day of school or live very near Atlanta, they’ll have to travel through Atlanta at peak traffic times and/or spend significant sums on hotels.

If the two organizations were to get together, pool their strengths and eliminate their differences, teachers might actually have some influence in Georgia.

Edugator

January 28th, 2010
9:38 pm

A four day week is a terrible idea for education. Many students are in a daze by late afternoon, and extending the day would not be beneficial. Kids need the regular exposure to the material, not a string of long weekends. Perhaps the best schedule is one where students attend more days, with each day of shorter duration- but that idea isn’t going anywhere.

RIDE_OR_DIE CHICK

February 4th, 2010
10:25 am

I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE SCHOOL SO THAT WE COULD NOT MISS ANY MORE SNOW DAYS FOR OUR SUMMER AND SOME OF THESE PEOPLE ON THIS WEB PAGE MOSTLY DONT KNOW WHAT THEIR TALKN ABOUT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO THINK OF YOUR KIDS NOT YOU SELF HELLO!!

Help wanted

February 21st, 2010
3:56 pm

well i am a student so i have mixed reviews because i dont want a longer year but i do want a shorter week so i cant really speak out yet.

jake

March 8th, 2010
8:55 am

a four day school week is for the teachers that dont want to cheat, but its not a great idea. Students well not do well with four days of school, just look at tests scores now. They will decrease when you switch over, so jus lay off some teachers. Besides most of them are just standing around in the front office.

jake

March 8th, 2010
8:56 am

and when i say cheat i mean the ones that are have problems with life

Scott

March 9th, 2010
11:09 am

Why is it that in all these responses nobody addresses reduction of pay to teachers as part of the budget savings? Not hear to make enemies by any means. But the first thing we see is our children’s education time cut. Bussing cut. Electives cut. In VERY few areas do I see teachers taking any pay cuts for only working four days. Where is the corelation? As a parent, I will always make certain my children are properly exposed to the education they need, whatever that means. In our district, the consideration is having a four day week with the teachers coming in every other Friday for partial time. No matter how you slice it, this represents a decrease in teachers time on the job – with no pay reductions. I support teachers and I’m related to teachers. But to me, this is a bandaid for a symptom at a local level that is a disease that is at the state level. If we make these moves, we are decreasing the alignment of teachers with the real issues – making future cuts and decisions even more difficult.

PARENT

March 9th, 2010
12:25 pm

As a parent educated both internationally and in the US it is hard to conceive that we are actually deliberating this. Teaching hard core concepts of Math and Science takes class room time. I understand that we do not have money, but as a successful engineer who learnt Advance Math in the basement of my Math teachers’ house I understand that we need to get back to the basics of educating our children. Teachers need to be paid, we need a safe building and we need to transport and feed the poor ONLY. I am not a socialist but my parents could afford my commute and food and so the system I belonged to at the time did not pay for that for me. They paid for my class room time, which we should all be thankful for. We are being selfish talking about time to go to the doctor; we are adults who have enjoyed a five day week of instruction while we were growing up and this has translated to the individuals we are today. We need to fight to protect our educational system, not experiment on our innocent children. How on earth can America expect to put out engineers, doctors, scientist, lawyers,…..like the rest of the world if our children are in school the least amount of time. I have been to engineering school and so did my boss and we struggled to keep up with those students from India, china and Korea, and by the way India is poor. And let’s not forget that our teachers’ interaction with our children is a source of inspiration for their eventual success. I really can’t believe we are spending time debating this when we should be spending time fighting against it.

Lil

March 11th, 2010
8:38 am

I happen to be a teacher in NY state. I’ve read the comments back and forth here and many of you have some good points whether you believe in a 4 day week or keeping a 5 day week. Being in the midst of our educational system, the cuts school districts are receiving now is just the beginning. Our district last year already started deleting positions and again, for the upcoming school year, will be deleting positions. They also informed us that it will be very probable that the 2011-2012 we will be looking at additional staff cuts. The counties and states surrounding us are also looking at large cuts in staffing. What does this do? This increases class size significantly and this is where learning deteriorates. We already closed one of our school buildings 3 years ago.
I believe that cutting back to a four day school week if funding continues to get cut for school districts may be the best alternative. Currently an average school day instructional time is roughly around 6 hours for the upper grades and less for the lower grades. If you kept the same hours and put it into a four day week, there would be more instruction. More teachers say the same thing. You cannot get enough done in one school day, one class period, etc. In a four day school week there could be an extra 90 minutes of instructional time each day. Yes it is a longer day, but it still adds up to being less than 8 hours a day.
There are many ways to create a four day school week, whether it is making up the hours in the week or adding days to the calendar. The only problem with extending the calendar at this time with our economy is that most Northern schools do not have air conditioning. I can tell you that working in a school with no air conditioning is tough in June, let alone July or August. As the temperature goes up in the buildings, the kids get more lethargic, hot, and cranky.
As far as teachers go, I don’t know any teachers who put in the same hours as our students. We all put in a lot more and that includes working during the summer and getting ready for the upcoming school year. In NY state you must have a masters. The amount of money spent on our education compared to our salaries is low. Most teachers will tell you they don’t teach for the money, but they do it for the kids and how it makes them feel when they see our students successes.

We are all in a crunch right now. Most of use have seen our home values decrease while our taxes have gone up significantly. We do need to explore options because unfortunately education is and will take a huge hit financially and we will all suffer, especially our children.

lonevoice

March 12th, 2010
9:54 am

Kids home alone all day/one day each week? Has anyone seen PBS’s “The Lost Children of Rockdale”?: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/georgia/

Student3205

March 17th, 2010
11:53 am

I’m currently a student in a nice sized community and to be honest we would love a 4 week school day and increasing the time of which we are in school to get that 5th day off…… You have to be in school so many hours correct? So why not just add minutes to each class to make up for the fifth day instead of everyone freaking about how long the kids need for in school teaching you will be thought the same amount as the normal week but with more time in the class room for 1 day is that so bad? I thought its what the students wanted not what workers wanted or people who don’t like the idea just let the kids and parents of those kids choose what they want to happen others stay out of the conversation.. thanks

Student from JMCSS

March 21st, 2010
7:44 pm

I agree with what student3205 has to say it is about wht the students think how they learn and communicate best so ther people can stay out of the conversation because they dnt even have a say so in the particular school disctrict/system

Joe

March 25th, 2010
10:31 am

I think that a 4 day school week is a great idea. It saves money and it saves resources. Less power is used. Money can be saved on electricity, transportation, and supplying food for students. During their “extra day”, students should go outside and get exercise. I know that many teachers do not give students much or any homework on the weekend. With this extra day, students should be given homework to make up for any missed class time. I believe this is also a good idea because students and teachers can get more sleep and have more time to be prepared for the up-coming week.

HIPPIE X

March 25th, 2010
10:34 am

This is awesome a 4 day school week?! well with this people can have fun we can save money earn money when. If there is a holiday on whatever day we add to the weekend we wont cancel school!!
besides who doesn’t want a 4 day school week am I right?

If you like kids this would be perfect for them
listen if u care u would let kids have 4 days
so if u care be fair don’t eat a pear be square.
GOT IT!!
i hope u do yo
cause life is more epic when u have fun.
hey don’t u want heroes or maybe super heroes!!!!!!
Make the right choice
GOT MILK!!??

HIPPIE X 22

March 25th, 2010
10:38 am

4 day school week but why not a

2 day school week!!!!!?!?!?!?!

wouldn’t that be cool or what?
listen if you say no to this
monkeys will rampage your house!!!
remember I check this website every day so be careful
or monkeys will return!
ha ha ha
peace!

MAD DAWG886

March 25th, 2010
10:40 am

We might have not to much work when we have a four day week.Also not that homework or work to go home with us. Another thing is that it might save us money to buy more stuff.We will have more free time.Also i would love to have a 4 day school weekend. It will be so cool and not that much test. I would just love to have a 4 day weekend.

Joe

March 25th, 2010
10:42 am

Please don’t listen to Hippie. The only decent thing he said was about the holiday. I completely go with that. But other than that, it is just pointless stuff…

MAD DAWG886

March 25th, 2010
10:43 am

Am i right or not?

HIPPIE M n' X

March 25th, 2010
10:45 am

Me n’ X here have a 1 question for this ‘4 day school week
1.kidding
so please choose
make a 4 day school week

and have the people and
the CHILDREN!
please the world needs a hero

peace ougt

Joe

March 25th, 2010
10:45 am

We don’t want to loose learning time “DAWG”. Taking away a school day would mean less classwork. They would need more homework.

joe

March 25th, 2010
10:53 am

Hi i’m joe and this is a really bad idea

Joe

March 25th, 2010
10:53 am

BAD idea bad idea

Joe

March 25th, 2010
10:56 am

Potentially an extra hour of school would be fine and should be provided. Less learning time means worse grades and more kids needing some extra help.
Green, moron is a little to much.

green71998

March 25th, 2010
10:58 am

sure it is – _-

AMymike

March 25th, 2010
11:00 am

to much to read…

green71998

March 25th, 2010
11:01 am

btw 4 day school week is an experimental idea so we have to try it first i personally think it may sucseed the rest of you post your opinions labeled @green71998 ;)

PolkaDots

March 25th, 2010
4:37 pm

Hey Hippie wat eva number is after that. Instead of a two day week how about no school at all our just have a regular school week and enjoy the four day weeks when we have them.

PolkaDots

March 25th, 2010
4:49 pm

This is all nonsense and if we have less school then parents would not and did u guys hear me when i said NOT..have any idea on wat to do with the extra day with us. and this will mess up the whole schedule and well people are crazy if they want a four day week. MORE HOURS TO SCHOOL!MORE HOMEWORK! I am not going 4 it

green71998

March 26th, 2010
10:50 am

4 day school weeks would be nice but teachers would get paid less