State ending test of shorter school week

The Minnesota Department of Education is calling a halt to the experiment with four-day school weeks. According to Minnesota Public Radio, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius has told seven of the 11 school districts with four-day school weeks to go back to regular schedules, and another is ending the experiment.

The districts involved found they saved money on bus service, energy costs and food service, but the state also found that when it comes to education, less is not more.

The state says the districts were not making progress, according to state test scores.

The four-day school week experiments began a few years ago in the face of stagnant school funding that wasn’t keeping up with the cost of running schools. Some schools found significant savings in the four-day week, and at first, it seemed there was no academic downside for students. But the latest results are now showing that it’s not helping students.

It seems to make sense that students who go to school four days a week would get less out of school than those who go five days a week. Even if districts lengthened the school days and the class periods, there’s something about the fifth day that would seem to reinforce the learning that takes place the other four days.

This makes it incumbent on the state, then, to make sure that school districts are able to provide the kind of education that we all want for our children. It is important that school districts be more creative, innovative and efficient, but they also have to have the resources necessary to do the job.

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