Read the text below.
Like a growing number of students around the U.S., children in Independence, Missouri are on a four-day school schedule, a change instituted this fall by their district.
To the kids, it’s terrific. But their moms are frustrated to find themselves hunting for activities to keep their kids entertained and off electronics while they work five days a week.
Hundreds of school systems around the country have adopted four-day weeks in recent years, mostly in rural and western parts of the U.S. Districts cite cost savings and advantages for teacher recruitment, although some have questioned the effects on students who already missed out on significant learning during the pandemic.
For parents, there also is the added complication, and cost, of arranging childcare for that extra weekday. While surveys show parents approve overall, support wanes among those with younger children.
The district-provided childcare isn’t as convenient because it’s not in every school. And in other four-day districts, so many parents adjust their work schedule or enlist family to help that the daycare has been discontinued because of low enrollment.
That is especially concerning for parents of younger kids and those whose disabilities can make finding childcare an extra challenge.
The effect on academics is murky, although some studies show the schedule doesn’t hurt test scores if the other four school days are lengthened to make up the time, said Paul Thompson, an associate professor of economics at Oregon State University.
However, the Rand Corporation found achievement differences in four-day districts, while initially hard to spot, became apparent over multiple years. That worries Karyn Lewis of the research organization NWEA, whose recent study found students are not making up all the academic ground they lost during the pandemic. “Now is not the time to do anything that threatens the amount of instruction kids are receiving,” she said.
In Independence, the shortened schedule created opportunities to help struggling students through an off-day program starting this month. Older students, meanwhile, can take classes at a community college.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.