Ever get really frustrated driving into work in the morning? I had one of "those" morning's today. I was happily moving along in traffic eating my bacon, egg, and cheese bagel when WGN Radio personality Greg Jarrett brought up the topic of a 4 day school week. His premise was with the disastrous Illinois financial issues impacting school funding some of the districts may look to move to a 4 day week to help cut costs.
His point of reference was a Wall Street Journal article presenting the alternatives that 100 out of 15,000+ districts are leveraging to attempt to make ends meet across the nation. Taking calls as he began to discuss this topic is where my day began to take a turn for the worse. The discussions began to quickly devolve into everything but learning.
- What about sports…
- "They" have enough time off… (Not exactly who "they" are exactly teachers or students)
- Should the 3rd day be Friday or Monday… Most national holidays are observed on Mondays…
- Daycare will be a challenge…
All of these are factors, but where is learning in all of this? The topper was the teacher who called in and laughed through saying she really would like the extra day off… REALLY?! SERIOUSLY?! Then when pressed on whether she "thought" (a stretch perhaps) students would be negatively impacted by the extended time "between cracking the books" she paused for about 5 seconds to "THINK" about it before replying something like: "I guess, they don't really study enough overall…" WHAT?!
The only bright spot of the segment was the 17 yr old student who called in and related his experiences and thoughts that he may benefit overall from more focus, time to review, and less stress overall between academics and athletics. Yes, he has a 4.3GPA.
Oh, yeah, don't forget the traffic reporter inquiring whether teachers will be paid 4/5 of their salary for "working" one day less… and the mom saying, "they'll just sit home and play video games anyway…"
However, to me, the significant issue is WHAT ABOUT LEARNING?! Does it matter if students attend 5 days or 4 or 3 if they are learning? Why are we stuck in this false construct that "school" = learning and that learning can only happen in "school"? At what age do parents dismiss their responsibility for his or her child's learning to others and why?