Could Oklahoma Students Succeed with a Four-Day School Week?
For most of this century, Oklahomans have shared an endless stream of thoughts and ideas on how to improve Sooner State schools.
The biggest problem our public education faces is funding. Small state, small funds.
In order to maximize the number of funds we can allocate to each student, we have collectively brainstormed ideas of how to cut pork and save funds.
In my hometown, they first got rid of electives that taught real-world skills like shop class and home economics. It was quite the scandal since our administrator was (and still is) the highest-paid administrator in the public school system.
Some districts have invested in better infrastructure... Updated windows and weatherization to cut down on the shockingly high electric bills, saving money wherever they can.
At least two Oklahoma school districts have opted to have a four-day school week to not only save money but to attract and lure teachers in a time of great shortage.
Both Roff and Stonewall school districts in Oklahoma have been approved for another year of four-day school weeks.
We made this the topic of discussion over lunch today, and the parents of the group understandably instantly rejected the idea. Personally, I've got a nephew that has trouble staying focused at school. Sure he needs more school, right?
As it turns out, this is nothing new for Roff and Stonewall. They've both been on this kind of schedule for the last seven years and their student performance and test scores have remained at acceptable levels across the board.
With an extra day off each week, both districts insist that teachers and students alike show back up on Monday rested and relaxed, which leads to better attitudes, satisfaction, and grades.
Could this be THE idea that finally manages to improve Oklahoma's public school system?
As more and more teachers leave for greener pastures and fatter wallets, maybe a shorter workweek might be the thing that offers a draw back within our borders. And if test scores and report cards are remaining either the same or improve, perhaps it's just as good for the kids.
Of course, while the kids probably love the idea of less school, the parents couldn't help but mention the challenge of that one extra day at home. What do they do with their kids each Friday?
While it's a wild idea that seems to be working in some of Oklahoma's smallest districts, it remains to be debated whether it could fly in larger districts like Lawton, Stillwater, or the big metro areas of OKC and Tulsa. What do you think?