The Four Day Week: Saving Schools By Shaving Days

Illustration for article titled The Four Day Week: Saving Schools By Shaving Days

For many of us, this was a four-day week. But for kids in Peach County, Georgia, every week is four days long — which might be kind of awesome.

According to the AP's Dorie Turner, Peach County initially eliminated Mondays to save money (and 120 other districts in America have done the same). But rather than suffering under the curtailed schedule, test scores and attendance actually improved. And the district superintendent predicts the highest graduation rate in years.

Giving kids every Monday off obviously isn't ideal for working parents, who then have to arrange (and pay for) additional childcare. But in Peach County, churches and the Boys & Girls Club have stepped in, offering care that apparently averages a few dollars a day. This might still be too much for some families, but if the four-day week caught on, maybe government agencies could step up to provide child care for free. Of course, this might cancel out the money-saving aspect of the scheme, but it would decouple kids' supervision from their education, which might be a good thing.


Obviously kids need someone to watch them while parents are at work, but somewhere down the line we developed the idea that kids should be working all that time too. However, school doesn't necessarily need the same hours as a full-time job. Reducing class time is unlikely to be popular when our country's educational system is struggling so badly — and indeed, some districts who have tried to measure have had less success than Peach County — but it's not clear that, when it comes to kids' education, more is actually better. Kids might benefit from a little fucking-around time — and, perhaps more importantly, we might all benefit from initiating our spawn a little later into the five-day drudgery of the American workweek. Maybe then they'd grow up to figure out work/life balance.

Image via Melissa King/

4-Day School Weeks Gain Popularity Across US [AP, via Brattleboro Reformer]

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liz.lemonade: She is beyond good and evil.

My district has adopted a "balanced calendar" for the next three years. Students will have nine weeks of school, followed by a week off — in other words, week-long breaks in September, November (Thanksgiving), February, and April, plus the traditional two weeks at New Year's. I *love* it, and all the other teachers I know are fans. Yes, it means we have a shorter summer vacation (the year begins the first week of August), but the frequent breaks give students and us teachers a chance to regroup. Many studies have shown that students are more successful with this type of calendar, just like with the Peach County example above.

A small-but-vocal group of parents was furious. I could understand if they were upset about having to arrange childcare during those breaks — that's definitely a concern, though my district has daycare plans similar to Peach County's. Oh, but no. Their main gripe is that kids are being "deprived of their summers". Huh? They still get nine weeks off! After the first month, most kids are bored anyway. (These are the same parents who complain about us going back in early August, with the "robbing them of summers" complaint ... conveniently forgetting that in exchange we get the entire month of June off. It's the same vacation that the rest of the country gets, just shifted ahead by a few weeks. Plus, the benefit is that high schoolers end their semester at the winter break instead of having to come back and take exams after that two-week holiday.)