The implementation of a four-day school week is a growing trend in rural school districts across the country. Currently, 88 districts in Colorado, 43 in Idaho, 30 in Oregon, and nearly half of the districts in Montana have adopted this non-traditional school schedule, according to the Brookings Institute.
The motivation behind this truncated school week is to help save the schools' and districts' money on various operating costs like janitors and heating. An extra 30 to 90 minutes of schooling at the end of each day is meant to supplement the loss of a fifth day.
Former Secretary of Education Paul Reville told Boston Public Radio Wednesday his concerns about the increasing popularity of the four-day school week. Reville believes that not only does a four-day week not save money, it is also can be detrimental to a child’s education.
“The research is beginning to show that the savings aren’t anything near what was predicted, and yet at the same time, we are leaving a lot of kids in rural communities who don’t have much access to other constructive resources or opportunities in the day with an extra day on their own. I think that’s potentially problematic,” said Reville.
Reville thinks the education system should be going in the opposite of shorting the school week and says students would benefit from longer, activity-filled days.
“We should be thinking about how we get more time, support, and opportunities to children, many of whose parents are busy working and don’t have other alternatives. I think [four-day school weeks], in fact, are a disturbing trend."
To hear more of our interview with former Secretary of Education Paul Reville click above.