I would be the first to jump on any plan to impose three-day weekends for Ed Week reporters! I would gladly promise to check my e-mail at least once on Mondays and read all my favorite blogs and news sites if that would help the editors approve a four-day work week. But I don't think most of the 700 students in the Maccray, Minn., district will be thinking about school each Monday, now that the state has approved the district's cost-saving alternative schedule. The measure shortens the school week by a day, but lengthens the school day Tuesdays through Fridays.
The move is intended to save money on transportation and utilities costs, according to this article in the Star Tribune. A number of small, rural districts around the country have proposed similar adjustments to the school year, which usually requires state-level approval. In the age of accountability when schools are trying to meet student-achievement targets set under No Child Left Behind, many education experts have been calling for more, not less, time in school for students.
But more school days mean more money, a commodity that is becoming more scarce amid tight state budgets. Georgia is experiencing that problem firsthand with the cost of its summer school programs, described here.
Judging by the comments on the Star Tribune article, most readers approve of Maccray's innovative solution, but lament the lack of sufficient resources for education and the potential negative impact the changes could have on student learning.