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Teaching The Same Material in Less Time

The Irene-Wakonda School District in South Dakota has joined the list of school districts which have shortened the school calendar by eliminating school on Fridays.  This was done to save money. South Dakota’s Republican-controlled Legislature slashed aid to schools this spring by 6.6 percent to help close a $127 million budget gap.  One quarter of all school districts have moved to some form of abbreviated school schedule.  According to one study, more than 120 school districts, mostly in the West, now use four-day weeks.

The district will add 30 minutes to each day and in elementary schools will shorten physical education and recess.

I understand the need to save money but the budget cuts strike at the purpose of education – teaching and learning.  As one person wrote to me, “States are eating the seed corn.”  But children don’t vote and therefore become easier victims.  But what happens to a parent who works a five day week and has to take care of child on Friday?  What happens to a child who is in middle or high school who doesn’t have school on Friday?  What do they do with their time? Doesn’t the politicians care?  Obviously not!

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