A 4-Day School Week: Are Michigan Families Ready for 3 Days Off?
Well? Would you be ready for a 4-day school week? The idea has been explored, but not since 'distance learning' and 'virtual meeting' have become part of our daily vocabulary. While it may sound unconventional at first, it has many supporters. and as many detractors. In Michigan, as long as you get 180 days and 1,098 hours in each school year, you're following the law.
So if school districts can figure out how to get in the hours and days required, a 4-day school week is a possibility and has been discussed at various levels of education in the Mitten State. What are the pros and cons? Let's take a look at some of the benefits and deficiencies this type of schedule presents.
Michigan 4-Day School Week Pros
- A longer school day would be necessary to make the abbreviated week work. However, with more hours in the day, teachers would have an opportunity for a more thorough dive into a subject.
- Utility and transportation costs could be cut by up to 20% by eliminating 1 day of instruction per week.
- With an extra day, making doctor and dentist appointments could be easier, and so could planning a 3-day weekend with the family.
- More time with family and less time at school is thought to improve overall being.
- The environmental impact of taking a fleet of buses off the road and a line-up of idling cars in a school pick-up or drop-off line could be significant.
Michigan 4-Day School Week Cons
- A longer school day means teachers have to hold the attention of your child longer. Your child may be an angel, so think of that other kid in the neighborhood that bounces off the walls and never stops asking 'why?'. Now take that kid and multiply that by 28, then imagine trying to get all of them to focus for more than 30 seconds.
- School districts might save on utilities, but your daycare bill just went up by 20% too. Not to mention the logistical challenge of a single-day drop-off at the end of the work week.
- With 1 less day in school, it limits the time available and opportunities for extracurricular activities. Participation in sports, academic clubs, and the arts could see a decline.
- That extra family time could result in learning loss, as some studies show longer breaks between school days can reduce retention.
- The impact on lower-income families, who are reliant upon services provided by schools, such as meals, would be difficult to manage.
This topic has been discussed at various levels of government without any really serious consideration. Some districts have adopted the 4-day school week, most successfully in Republic-Michigamme Schools.
Would it work in the rest of the state? Maybe, if more employers moved to a similar calendar. That extra day off sounds great in theory though, doesn't it? Imagine how many quality teachers you could attract with a schedule like that.
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