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PLSouthside Scroll

PLSouthside Scroll

Time will tell with four-day week

Less school is something that many students wouldn’t mind, but for the Banner County, Conestoga, Wynot, Hay Springs, Weeping Water, and Minatare school districts in Nebraska, it’s a reality. These districts are on a four-day school week, along with nearly 900 districts across the United States.

Even though many students would welcome a four-day school week, it is too early to observe the long-term effects.

The reality is that the four-day school week has become a tool for small school districts that don’t have the financial resources of larger districts to attract teachers.

“Smaller schools, we don’t have the financial resources to throw money at people to stay…I just can’t compete,” Weeping Water Superintendent Kevin Reiman said in a Nebraska Public Media article.

A survey by the Nebraska Department of Education in the current school year found that among the responding school districts, there were 908.18 “unfilled” positions. Unfilled means that the position was either taken by somebody not completely qualified for the role, somebody transitioning into becoming completely qualified, or that the position was left vacant. This is up from the 768.70 unfilled positions reported in the same survey last school year. Due to the lower number of teachers in small districts, one unfilled position can have a larger impact than it would in a larger school.

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Interestingly, schools in the Metro region, which includes Papillion La Vista Community Schools, had more unfilled positions than any other Nebraska region. School districts with  more than 10,000 students also had the most vacant positions. But because there are fewer  total teaching jobs in Nebraska’s small school districts, they feel the impact of one unfilled position in a more significant way  than a larger school district.

Several studies have found that the four-day school week reduces both teacher and student stress levels while having only small negative effects on student test scores. But schools that have switched to the four-day week have experienced challenges with student attention spans due to the longer school days required. There is also the concern that parents have to find affordable childcare for when they go to work and the kids stay home, as well as missing school lunch for kids dealing with food insecurity.

For these reasons, even though many students would welcome a four-day school week, it is too early to observe long-term effects of widespread four-day school weeks. Thus, students, parents, teachers, and administrators should wait until these long-term effects become clear before passing judgment.

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About the Contributor
Tony McGill
Tony McGill, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Hello! I'm Tony McGill. This is my senior year, and also my third and final year on staff. I am also on the cross country and track teams. When I'm not doing journalism, I like to watch football, run, and hike. If you have any questions or suggestions about Titan journalism, feel free to talk to me or reach out at [email protected].
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