Sunday, August 21, 2011

Something's Wrong

A school district in South Dakota is dropping Friday classes to save money:
Johnke, the superintendent, said the district will add 30 minutes to each day and shorten the lunch break to provide more class time Monday through Thursday. In elementary school, recess and physical education classes will be shortened.

The changes won't entirely make up for losing Friday, Johnke said, but the district will still exceed the state's minimum standard for class time and will teach all the required material.
If everything could be taught using just over 80% of the time previously used, then the schedule before was a waste of time and money and the Monday-Thursday schedule is the way things should be.

On the other hand, I doubt there's anyone out there who truly believes the superintendent's last statement above.

Hat tip to reader MikeAT.

12 comments:

Sandy said...

I teach in a small private school that has a four day school week. It does work, but it's tough to get through all the material in a year. We have long days (7:50-3:45 for high school, 8:00-3:25 for elementary) with a 30 min lunch break, 3-min class change breaks for middle/high school, and two 20-min recesses each day for elementary. We're only able to do it because we have a relatively small student-teacher ratio, aides in some of the elementary classes, and lots of parental support.

MasonPiper said...

I taught at an Evening High School. It was a full diploma granting school, full activities, but no sports teams. They went from 3-9:30 pm, with a 30 min diner break, Monday thru Thursday. The thing that made it a very good school was all of the students had made a choice to be there. Missing 3 classes periods would dis-enroll you from the class. 8 kids lost classes the first semester I was there and about the same the following semesters. It was amazing teaching kids that were there to learn. I wish we could go to a year round school, 15/45 single track and 4 days ....if I could teach and not be interupted all the time....school starts next monday here

Darren said...

What I get from both of you is that this isn't a program that would work for "most" kids at "most" schools.

Anonymous said...

I bet it saves a great deal of money. They save at least 20% on transportation.

Darren said...

I'm sure it does. Will they still "teach all the required material" (emphasis mine), or not? My point was clear in the penultimate paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed an immense amount of wasted time in elementary school. I could see easily getting through the academic material is 80% or less of the time that the kids spent at school.

For junior high and high school, I guess it would depend on how much time is wasted in those schools.

Peter Reilly said...

Not an educator myself but I bet what happens the other three days will make a difference.

Happy Elf Mom said...

*shrug*

Homeschool co-ops do this stuff all the time. You meet once or twice a week for tests, labs and/or electives and the rest of the time? You learn at home. I don't see why this couldn't be pared back even further for the great majority of students, especially in the younger grades. I know it wouldn't work well for, say, physics classes, but why not for first-graders? These children DO have parents.

Left Coast Ref said...

I agree with HappyElfMom. Much of public schooling (and private for that matter) is wasted time. Learning is accomplished when you interact with the material. Yes, some subjects, like Advanced Math, Chemistry, Physics may not be best suited for a "once-a-week" setting. But there is something to be said for Homeschooling and Charters...

Ellen K said...

Here's what I wonder. In Texas we are in the midst of a heat wave induced drought of epic proportions. It used to be that when school started after Labor Day, football started in mid September. By then heat wasn't a problem for athletes and band members. Now we have kids keeling over. But more than that our energy grid is warning that we might have rolling brownouts if we don't conserve during peak hours. It seems starting school in mid August adds 15 kilowatts to the burden on the grid. Here's an idea-start school in the fall, not summer and stop extending the year because of testing. Just a thought.

Ellen K said...

Oh and on top of all that I wrote above, we cannot purchase anything until September the first which means some districts can't hire until that date passes. Early start dates make no sense.

Darren said...

Ellen, you're just out of control! :-)