Some Oklahoma schools have 4-day school weeks to make up for low teacher pay
Is a 4-day school week the answer to low teacher pay? 210 schools in Oklahoma think so.Posted by CBS News on Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Teachers throughout Oklahoma are discussing the possibility of a walkout after some school districts in the state opted to implement a four-day school week to make up for the low salaries its teachers currently receive. According to a report by CBS, the average teacher salary in Oklahoma is the second lowest in the country at $45,000. Even though school officials admit their districts didn't save a ton of money after switching to a four-day system, they found that more qualified teachers applied to work in those schools. But as you can imagine, this new system comes with a lot of questions.
Jalaine Watham, a second-grade teacher in the Bridge Creek Public School District, is all for the shortened school week, since it allows her to spend more time with her kids. "It has allowed that weekend time with my family, but I also really truly feel like it has made me a better teacher by being purposeful and looking at time management," she said.
She's not the only educator who's drawn to the new system. Bridge Creek Superintendent David Morrow says he's received way more job applications for teaching jobs since the new policy was implemented. "When we were on the five-day school week, I had three openings at our elementary school and had four applicants . . . Same three openings now and you have 15 to 20 applicants," he said.
So how exactly does this new system work for public schools with a 180-day requirement? Each school tacks on anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to the four regular school days to make up for some of the lost time. But Joy Hofmeister, the superintendent of instruction for Bridge Creek, says that adding a few minutes to the end of each day isn't the same as having kids in school for another full day of learning. "We are losing valuable time to sustain momentum and grow," she said. "Just extending more minutes to the day is not actually the same as having more days in the calendar year."
Although the shortened week is enticing for families with flexible childcare options or a stay-at-home parent, it poses huge issues for working parents who would need to find alternate arrangements for an extra day per week. And that's one expensive problem to have.
Would you be excited about your kids having a four-day school week? Or do you think children should spend all five weekdays in the classroom?