Four-Day School Weeks in the L.A. Times
A four-day school week proposal was voted down in the Missouri Senate a few weeks ago, but the idea is still alive and well in other parts of the United States. This L.A. Times story reports on districts in California that are considering a schedule change. One reason for four-day school weeks given in the article is particularly relevant to rural parts of the Midwest:
Administrators in rural districts say it’s one way they can entice teachers to take lower pay and live farther from big cities.
Rural districts can’t act just like big-city districts if they want to hire equally talented teachers. They must either pay more (usually not possible) or offer some other incentive, like long weekends.
It doesn’t matter whether four-day weeks are better than five-day weeks, holding all other variables constant. Districts have to take into account how other elements of the school day, such as teacher quality and available resources, will change in response to the shorter week. It could be that shorter weeks hurt test scores if everything else is equal, but that the resulting flexibility in hiring more than makes up for it.