It's not uncommon for some students in rural western states to attend school just four days a week. The condensed schedule was one incentive for attracting teachers in areas where travel from home to school could be arduous and costly.
But Stateline.org reports that the four-day school week is spreading well beyond rural outposts as school districts look for ways to attract staff and cut costs. A massive teacher walkout in Oklahoma this month exposed the tight education budgets in that state, where 97 of 513 public school districts observe a four-day school week – almost twice the number as the previous year.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 22 states have schools operating on a four-day schedule. Indiana is not among them.
“Supporters of the shortened week also boast of improved morale and increased attendance (by both students and teachers), open Fridays for sporting events and doctor appointments, and more time to spend with loved ones,” according to NCSL. “Opponents of the four-day school week cite problems with long, exhausting class days and finding day care for children whose parents work outside the home. Additionally, educational experts worry longer weekends could lead to a regression in learned concepts while also making it more difficult to offer elective classes.”
The long-term data on reduced school-week schedules are still out, but the growing number of schools adopting them suggests there will be plenty of evidence to consider.