The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
The success of the four-day school week across the country is the subject of a recent Wall Street Journal article published on October 9, 2018. The article focused on the increasing number of schools adopting a four-day schedule to save money and retain teachers.
This school year, about 600 districts in at least 22 states are using a four-day schedule, according to the Wall Street Journal review.
These numbers represent a marked increase from about 120 in 17 states a decade ago, when Chattooga County began the four day school week. That is a 500% increase in the last ten years. The WSJ article went on to point out that studies demonstrate academics do not suffer under the four-day schedule while the financial windfalls can be significant. While mostly rural schools have been using the abbreviated schedule, Colorado School District 27J, outside of Denver, this year became the largest district in the state, with just over 18,000 students, to use a four-day calendar.
In most cases, states are allowing local school boards to decide how use a compact week, as long as their districts meet state minimums for instructional time.
The school hours for Chattooga County, under the four-day schedule, provides more instructional time (classroom time when the students are in front of the teacher) than with the five-day schedule; even exceeding the state requirement for instructional time. Georgia requires students receive 63,000 minutes of instructional time each year. Chattooga students actually receive an extra 2,100 minutes (35 hours) of instructional time throughout the year.
7 periods at 50 minutes =350 minutes 7 periods at 62 minutes=434 minutes
350 minutes X 180 days = 63,000 minutes 434 minutes x 150 days=65,100 minutes
The potential future of Chattooga’s four-day school week is a source of heated debate in the upcoming Chattooga County Board of Education elections. The Republican Party platform has evolved into a mandate of returning to the five-day, while the three Democratic incumbents have all come to support the benefits provided by the four-day school week.