How Much is About Keeping Kids Off the Street?

Posted: 2011/03/14 in Classroom Teacher, Education, Education Reform, High School, Students

Here’s a way to save money — what if we switched schools to a 4 day week? Ditch the traditional pattern of seven-hour days Monday through Friday and go to eight-and-a-half hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

High School students in our district are in school 33 and-a-half hours per week. Subtract the time spent at lunch and for passing from one class to the next and the reality is 28 hours of instruction time. High School teachers in the district are required to spend at least 37 and-a-half hours in that building.

Think of all the money that could be saved with one less day of heat, electricity, custodial staff, food services, security and whatnot.

The first issue that comes up: how wise is it to try to cram that many more hours of learning into a teenage brain? Are more hours in a day really quality hours? As an adult I’ve attended conferences where I went from a lecture to a workshop to another lecture — there’s a point of diminishing returns.

But what does that matter if the priority for education is saving money?

Here’s the real issue for society if we went to a four-day week: What is the community going to do with all those kids running free on a weekday?

Ask the police how much fun it would be to have all of a city’s teenagers unsupervised every Wednesday. How about shopowners? How about parents? And what about the younger kids with working parents? Where’s the Wednesday childcare?

In an earlier post I wrote about the frenzy to make it easier to fire teachers and I asked “Who would you get to watch the students?” I didn’t ask who you would get to teach.

Can society admit the truth? For all the big talk about education, one of the important functions of schools is keeping kids off the street. From certain viewpoints maybe that’s the most important function of schools.

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