Minnesota Schools Move to Four-Day Week

The Minnesota Department of Education recently approved a four-day school week for the MCCRAY school district located in rural west-central Minnesota. Starting this fall, students will attend school Tuesday through Friday for ten hours a day. The move to four days was driven by an attempt to save money.

School officials justify the move, citing an expected $85,000 in saved energy and transportation costs. Other communities that have instituted similarly compressed school weeks say that the concept works and that it does save money.

However, I’m not sold on the idea. First of all, this means that children will now be home on Mondays, a day that working parents likely won’t be. I’m sure there are plenty of mothers in this community who stay at home, but I like to believe we as a society don’t want to further this as the status quo. And for those who do work, they will now have to find (and pay for) child care one day a week. At that point, wouldn’t the children be better off in a classroom?

Second, while students will still be technically be spending the same number of hours per week in school (four 10-hour days vs. five 8-hour days), those hours will likely be less effective than before. Let’s face it – 10 hours is a long day for anyone, but it’s especially long for students and for the teachers who instruct our understaffed, overpopulated classrooms. How much quality learning will really be going on come 5 pm?

Furthermore, we are falling further and further behind the rest of the developed world in terms of providing quality education for our children. I understand and empathize with the desire to save money (just read any of my other posts), but I also recognize the value of a long term investment. There are places to cut costs and then there are places to invest for future return. This is one area where I wouldn’t skimp simply to save a few bucks today.

My son is only two years old and before his birth, I was a strong advocate of public schools. I still am a strong advocate for them and I think we need to fix the problems our public schools face rather than looking for ways around them. However, moves like the one by the Minnesota Department of Education make me pretty nervous over the thought of leaving his education at the mercy of the state.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

9 Replies to “Minnesota Schools Move to Four-Day Week”

  1. With the move to 4/10 work weeks by many corporations, I think this might be a good tool, My company recently switched to it and I find I actually get more work done, since the first hour of my day is usually just me being tired, i waste only 10% of my day now, instead of 12.5% lol. But honestly, imagine if you had your first period class longer to make sure they digest everything that was taught(eyes of a teacher).

  2. As I former teacher I think I would have wanted the 4 day workweek, selfish reasons only, 3 day weekends each week. Seriously though year round schools try to do the same. They divide themselves up into 4 different tracks, 5 sets of students enrolled, 4 on at a time, 1 on vacation, every 45 school days 4 more on one other off, this way they can cram more students into a school. I don’t live in the US anymore so I hadn’t heard about this in response to the energy crisis but it’s not surprising.

  3. This is a trend nationwide. I am watching other bigger school districts try to make it work. I have public schooled kids and homeschooled. I see both sides of this issue. So I waiting to see long term what may happen next year we could be doing the same schedule.

  4. Thanks for voting for Circles on EntreCard! I really appreciate it. I voted for a few of y our posts as well.

    Now that I’ve found you, I’ll favorite you on EntreCard and should drop rather regularly.

    Have an awesome rest of your 4th of July!

  5. Hey Erica,

    I started to comment on this earlier but kept changing my mind. I decided that your points about the long hours and the extra day out of school being a problem for parents are compelling.

    I have no children so I can only reflect back on how it was when I was in school. A 10 hr day would have been brutal. I would however love to see some sort of voluntary after hours programs available for children. If there were more physical activities and health related education I think that would be great.

    It amazes me how many children today have weight problems. The story of Brook the murdered 12 year old just kills me. If only. There are a million “If only’s” that plague me. If only the internet wasn’t such a huge part of a child’s day in lieu of playing outside. That’s a whole new topic tho.

    Great thought provoking post!

  6. I think this is a horrid idea, not only for kids but for parents as well. A ten hour work day is long a an adult, it’s murder on a kid. They aren’t going to pay attention or absorb for that amount of time. I honestly don’t care if the adults are moving to a 4 day work week, adults are just that, adults, and can handle that amount of time. There is no way that you can equate the ability of a 50 year old man to deal with the long work day to that of a 7 year old 1st grader. I see it as ridiculous.

  7. I definitely think a ten hour learning day would be brutal. Just to go home and get homework done! That’s a lot. I do understand they are trying to save some money but I don’t think this is the way to do it. There must be other ways to go around this. Between the brutal long day and possible needs of daycare this would be doing more harm than good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *