Why Four-Day School Weeks Are Gaining Ground

Districts use shorter schedule to cut costs, recruit teachers
(EWA Radio: Episode 185)

Once more common to rural communities, the four-day school week is growing in popularity in suburban and urban districts as a way to reduce costs, boost student engagement, and even retain staff. Tawnell Hobbs of The Wall Street Journal found the number of school systems following a four-day academic week has skyrocketed in the past decade, from about 120 districts in 17 states to at least 600 districts in 22 states this year. Also,districts often stick with the revised schedule even after their financial picture improves, Hobbs reports. What does the research show about the impact of the four-day schedule? How are districts using it as a recruiting tool to lure more qualified teachers and administrators? Where are the potential drawbacks for students and families? And how do community partnerships for wraparound services like child care and nutrition fit into the picture? Plus, Hobbs discusses her approach to the national education beat, and shares story ideas for reporters looking at academic calendars more broadly, even if their districts aren’t considering a four-day schedule.

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