Expert Urges Caution Before School Districts Implement Four-Day Weeks
Excerpt from Marva Hinton's interview with Paul Hill in Education Week:
[CRPE] posted a link to this article entitled, "A Troubling Contagion: The Rural Four-Day School Week," by CRPE Founder and University of Washington Research Professor Paul Hill and Georgia Heyward, a research analyst at CRPE. Reading it prompted me to reach out to Paul to do a Q&A with him.
Below is a lightly edited version of our conversation.
How widespread would you say this schedule is in rural areas, particularly out West?
I can't speak for any place east of the Mississippi. But it's now becoming the case in a near or actual majority of school districts in the Intermountain West. That's Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah. Obviously, it's spread to a near majority of districts in Oregon. I've gotten calls since my op-ed from Nebraska and Oklahoma where I don't think it's as prevalent, but it's spreading like wildfire in those places.
Would it be fair to say you're not a fan of the four-day week?
I believe that schools can do fine with four-day weeks, and there can be many ways where that can be worked out. But I also believe that it takes serious thinking in advance. It doesn't just automatically work. There are problems that have to be dealt with: what do with the little kids, what to do with kids whose families don't have the capacity to take up the slack on the [fifth] day, how to make sure that teachers give assignments that keep the kids in the game during the three days they have off and then be sure that teachers read those assignments or respond to them so they're educational and not just make-work. There are lots of things that could make the four-day week quite successful, but what I was seeing was that in the West, it was being adopted under the original rationale of saving money. Then when it wasn't saving money, it was being adopted because it was popular among the adults.