What’s the easiest way to cut school spending? To cut schooling, of course--and districts across the land are turning to this boneheaded solution as they contemplate their dismal financial situations. This idea of replacing a regular five day week with four longer days is certainly not new--some rural districts have used it to slash commute times and transportation costs for many years--but its alleged cost-saving bona fides are enticing many more places to try it out. “The savings so far have been phenomenal,” boasts a spokeswoman for Peach County, Georgia. Yes, but longer days max out kids’ attention spans, parents are burdened with an extra day of child care duties, and three-day weekends mean Thursday’s lesson is a distant memory by Monday. This isn’t smart saving; it’s just the path of least resistance. We’re all for moving away from “seat time” as the measure of education, but this isn’t the way to do it.
“Schools’ New Math: The Four-Day Week,” by Chris Herring, Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2010