Three reasons why school districts are implementing a 4-days classroom week
Schools implementing a four days school week is again a growing trend. The shortened school days were used in over 1,600 schools across 24 states in 2018 until the pandemic hit. But in 2023, more educators think it’s a solution that will help curb the academic decline.
It mainly affects grades pre-K to 12. Class hours are extended by 35 to fifty minutes per day, with no classes on Mondays or Wednesdays.
Low pay, low morale, and literacy problems
Recently, more school districts are eliminating one day to help address the student-teacher ratio.
1. Teacher and staff shortage
Teacher shortages and insufficient support staff, including paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and custodians, are part of the problem. NCES indicates 44% of public school teacher vacancies and 49% of staffing vacancies in 2022.
Low pay for school staff
Low pay wages are also causing low employee retention rates. For exampteacher’serage public school teacher’s salary in Illinois is only $22.
More people are reluctant to teach because of low pay. But a bigger reason is the growing low esteem of teachers.
2. Encourage teachers against growing toxicity
Low morale of teachers
Nationally, teachers who have “alked away from the profession have cited burnout. In Missouri, “Less than half of teachers remain in the field afte” the first five years of teaching, according to a recent report,” Turner said in a 2022 article at Missouri State.
According to a study poll, educator burnout is a severe issue. The top issue facing educators is burnout, with 67% reporting it as a thorny issue and 90% as very serious or somewhat serious. [NEA]
Three days off in a week allows teachers and staff extra breathing space.
In 2023, the Glenbard District chose not to reduce school days but gave teachers more breathing space by adjusting periods.
Student lack of respect
School employees working for only four days a week will improve morale and the academic quality of their teaching, according to a study Turner led. However, it remains to be seen.
3. To help improve declining academic scores
Academic scores of American students had been getting worse for years. Since 1992, there has been no significant score change in reading and comprehension.
Despite changing and lowering curriculum standards, nothing seems to work.
The average reading performance of fourth and eighth graders declined from 2017 to 2019. In 2022, reading scores regressed to their lowest levels in more than two decades.
Another study by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University in January 2022 shows reading and math scores dropped significantly, confirming something every educator is familiar with.
America has been stagnation in educational progress for decades. [NAEP Test 1990-2019]
US States adopting a 4-days school week in 2023
Instead of four days, they start school later, not because of shortage but to address students’ growing mental health problems in the Democrat-led states.