Four-Day School Weeks Becoming Popular In School Districts—But Not For Parents

More and more school districts nationwide have adopted four-day school weeks, and communities are split, PBS reported.

In primarily rural and western parts of the U.S., the districts praise how the change saves money and does wonders for recruiting teachers. Paul Thompson, associate professor of economics at Oregon State University, found that close to 900 school districts operate on a shorter schedule—increasing from a little over 100 in 1999 to 662 in 2019.

Sounds good for the students and school administrators, but what about the parents?

“I feel like I’m back in the COVID shutdown,” Brandi Pruente, mother of three, said. For working moms like Pruente, the four-day week is a nightmare because they struggle to find activities for their kids on the fifth day or someone to watch them. The new schedule saves the district money but forces parents to dish out more. Even with the district offering child care for $30 per day, the French teacher has no desire to utilize it.

“I want my kids in an educational environment,” she said. “And I don’t want to pay for somebody to babysit them.”

Superintendent Dale Herl of Independence, Missouri, wasn’t too keen on the idea, but outside conversations convinced him parents would figure it out.

“You have to go back and look, you know, what do parents do during the summertime,” Herl asked. “What do they do over, you know, spring break or Christmas break? Not all parents have the luxury to cater to their kids outside of holiday breaks.”

Lawmakers in Missouri have pushed against shorter school weeks, with three-day weekends jumping from 12% to 30%. Some of the state’s lawmakers have pushed back, citing that students need more time in the classroom with education professionals. One proposed legislature proposed having four-day week students transfer or enroll in private schools at the expense of their home districts.

The legislation failed to be picked up.