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A Four-Day School Week?


What would you do if your school district announced that it would be dealing with budget cuts by moving to a four-day school week? My first thought is – Move. My second is – Supplement with homeschool. But for a lot of Americans, neither of these are options. So I’m left wondering what parents should do as they watch their children’s educational opportunities get slashed.

The Irene-Wakonda School District in South Dakota recently announced that it would be cutting Friday instruction this year for financial reasons.  And they’re not the only ones.  According to a recent news article, “more than 120 school districts in 20 states, most in the west, now use four-day weeks.”  This number seems surprisingly high.  The deeper I get into the world of education advocacy, the more I hear educators, administrators and parents pushing for longer hours in school, not shorter.

President Obama has advocated for extending the school year, saying that children in the United States attend classes, on average, about a month less per year than children in most other advanced nations.   Click here to see a map that compares the length of a school year in various countries around the world.

At a time when Americans are fighting to make our schools more competitive internationally, it seems completely counterproductive to be giving kids less time in school.  As a nation, we show our priorities by how we spend our tax dollars.  What does shortening the school week tell our kids about what we value?

Kathryn Thompson is a mom to two school-aged kids, a toddler and a deceased betta fish. She can also be found at The Parenting Post, and occasionally the gym.