Several Oklahoma superintendents in districts south of the Oklahoma City metro area are considering switching to a 4-day school week, according to several news sources.
Working parents in the comments on those articles have expressed concern that they’ll have to pay for additional daycare options (including have to pay for a week of daycare when only using one day), bus drivers are concerned about a decrease in their wages, and teachers are concerned about those students who rely on the school for regular meals, and who must care for younger siblings.
However, the 35 districts in Oklahoma who have already converted to the shorter school week have reported significant savings in utilities and other expenses related to the daily operation of their schools, according to News9.com.
Superintendents are considering this option as a way to deal with foreseen budget shortfalls as a result of the growing shortage in state funds.
All of these considerations aside, I consider this switch a possible way to make teaching more bearable for classroom teachers with ever-increasing rosters. With 120 students, I spend hours each week grading papers. After a full day of school, I frequently return home to rest, try to spend time with my family, and grade papers that don’t require my undivided attention. I continue grading papers and begin planing lessons on Saturday, which has been known to take the entire day. I spend Sunday at church, then in the #OklaEd chat, and then finalize those lesson plans.
Having that extra day each week — whether it’s Monday or Friday — would allow me to return Saturday to my own children and husband (After all, I’m the ONLY mother and wife they have!) and enable me to relax more on Sunday. I could shift the bulk of my grading and lesson planning to the “day off” and be better prepared to teach the other four days of the week.
Generally speaking, and with the information I have, I am for this move, in the event my school district considers it.
Early talks were underway Wednesday morning between members of 14 school districts. Their hope is that a move to a four-day school week will help save money, teachers and test scores. Originally, the meeting was supposed to be between 22 superintendents, but some could not attend.
I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma graduate student, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.