With all the recent economic trouble across the country (and the world), our local governments are looking to save money in all kinds of strange places. For example, our local school board is evaluating cutting the school week to four days, making them a bit longer instead.
When I first heard about this idea, I did some research and found out that there is relatively few school districts in the U.S., that decided to implement such a solution. As a result, there is rather slim amount of good data available to support its perceived value. It appears to me that there could be some benefits, but they are only apparent in very small and geographically spread out districts. For a district the size of Pasco County, the four day school week idea seems to have rather weak foundations, and might lead to more problems than it's trying to solve.
Unfortunately, when I attended a parents' forum with the chief proponent of this idea and the person who first proposed it, the School Board member Steve Luikart, my impression was that he was already convinced and all he wanted to do was to convince the rest of the board.
I'm glad to see that the issue is getting attention from some of the candidates to the school board during the upcoming elections. As The Tampa Bay Times reported today, Don Stephenson is firmly against the idea of the four day school week. Even though I do not agree with a lot of Mr. Stephenson's agenda, I am happy to be on the same side of the fence when it comes to the shorter school week. Hopefully, this will attract some much needed attention to this issue, and maybe, convince the current board to find better ways of saving money. Cutting our children's time in school is not the best way to ensure they get the best education possible.
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