Why not have a four-day school week?

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The four-day school week idea I read about left me thinking. "Why not?" Frankly, it's not just the high cost of oil, global warming or other gloomy scenarios that make the idea worth investigating. It could be a positive academic change.

From the tone of the article, the editor thought the idea had merit -- as a last-ditch solution. He almost had me humming along until he alluded to crime rates in a hand-wringing appeal. "Brother, can you spare a dime?" or "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?" has dramatic appeal. Yet I know of many families -- home school families, dare I mention them -- whose children study at home successfully.

To remain at home to do nothing is easy. To use the time wisely is more difficult. The question is whether people can be trusted to use their own lives in a legitimate manner. This prompts the rhetorical question, "If they can't be trusted, why place them in the schools anyhow?"

Youth crime exists today, and will continue to exist regardless of school hours. Crime is not the problem that should drive this decision.

Fear stems from lack of knowledge, creativity or courage. As a nation, for too long we have not "owned" our reliance on oil, instead shifting blame and focus. We even downplay it, as the author did, as a "temporary problem."

A day at home each week: inconvenient, imperfect and occasionally misused. I grant you these. However, the potential benefits to students, parents and the community are numerous and understated. Beyond fewer tanks of gas and savings from teacher telecommuting, reduced building utility and maintenance will accrue. We should continue to look at this cost-saving idea.

I commend the vision of Superintendent Dana Bedden for creating the path for creative problem-solving. Hopefully he is not stymied by Band-Aid pushers.

Mary Claire Birdsong, Augusta

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joesimpson
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joesimpson 05/13/08 - 03:05 am
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You could save even more

You could save even more money by stopping busing. It is no longer needed in this community. It served it's purpose 30 years ago but now with the diversity in neighborhoods all around Augusta today the only thing it accomplishes is wasting energy.

keysandlocks
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keysandlocks 05/13/08 - 03:10 am
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Aren't the total number of

Aren't the total number of school days in the year mandated by the state or whomever? If this is so, the buses must still run for the same number of days, building maintenance still goes on and student and teachers gas tanks still have to be filled. Where are the savings going to come from by this really dumb idea?

christian134
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christian134 05/13/08 - 05:14 am
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This program would actually

This program would actually have to begin with a family unit taking priority and not the almighty dollar...One family member working while the other stays home to tend to the children and the home...That is the natural order of the family...One that has become non-existent as to it's real purpose. To those whose family depends on the resources of one person as mom and dad then they would receive the help needed to school the children..Help in the form of companies with daycare and classrooms with qualified teachers, churches with low reasonable rates that provide daycare and schooling which missons monies would defer most of the cost and actually take a load off the parents while working a misson field right here at home...This would be a start....Actually think of it in these terms...The status quo of the school system and family unit doesn't work for the most part in this country..If it doesn't work in it's present form then it needs to be totally scraped and a new program put into play..One that involves family with God in charge...

dashiel
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dashiel 05/13/08 - 06:40 am
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Count all the time schools

Count all the time schools waste now (public address system interruptions, disciplinary distractions, drills, bogus awards, sales pitches) and you'll discover that we have a 4-day school week now, though we are paying for five.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/13/08 - 07:22 am
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Dashiel, you are a wise

Dashiel, you are a wise observer! Good points. And as far as the "minimum" number of days mentioned by KeysAndLocks, yes there are supposed to be 180 days of instruction; but if a system goes from five to four day weeks, they multiply 180 by four/fifths to get the new number. You still have to go the same number of weeks, but now you go 144 days for longer hours.

crackertroy
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crackertroy 05/13/08 - 07:27 am
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A four day school week would
Unpublished

A four day school week would never work. christian134 has a point, most children in schools today are either in a single parent home or a home where the parents have divorce and have mixed families. A child today living with both biological parents is by far the minority. These families need the school system to babysit their children while they work Mon-Fri. It would not save energy because the number of school days is mandated at 180. And, most children do not want to learn. Maybe in Mrs. Birdsongs ideal make believe world they do, but given the opportunity for a day off, most students will do nothing academically and the thugs will be out stealing cars and whatever else.

aftbrn
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aftbrn 05/13/08 - 07:40 am
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If we go to a four day school

If we go to a four day school week, we need to follow with a four day work schedule. How many families out there require both parents to be working five days a week to make ends meet? ok, ,make it even tougher for them so they have to now hire someone to watch the kids on the fifth day when they would normally be in school. Sure it would be nice if we could all have stay at home wives. Or how about the single parent families, whose dad or mom may be over seas in the services? You all need to think this all the way through.

christian134
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christian134 05/13/08 - 08:38 am
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Stay at home moms is not a

Stay at home moms is not a fad just passing in the wind...It worked for alot of years, hundreds for that matter, it will work again...Now those moms nowadays can be a Dad who is better suited than a Mom or Mom to take care of home while Dad makes the living....Sure things will be tight but you know what kids might stand a better chance to grow up into adults that have better morals and better skills in which to live and work by...As far as one parent households they can be assisted by the workforce and churches....One thing is sure to happen people who have children will have to look to themselves to take care of them...You have them be responsible for them....

dani
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dani 05/13/08 - 08:57 am
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Before a 4-day week can take

Before a 4-day week can take place, parents have to stop looking at schools as day-care centers. No matter how many days school is in session, you, the parent, are the responsible party.

aftbrn
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aftbrn 05/13/08 - 09:51 am
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Christian134 your views are

Christian134 your views are as archaic as your religion. Those times have passed when people lived and farmed their homesteads for a living. Then you could take your child out on the tractor while plowing the field and grow yur own food. This world doesn't work that way anymore. There was a time when three or four generations lived together under one roof and everyone pitched in with rearing the children. The days of the Waltons has long past. when was the last time you tried to barter with Publix for a dozen eggs? Is it better now, no. But it is reality. I for one take care of my children and they are in private school, yes it takes both of us a parents to support the expenses. In my opinion children should be presented with more opportunities for schooling than less, now more than ever. Because there are less opportunities to inherit a family homestead or business and you need to be smarter and more dicplined than ever. These children going to a four day school week will get less of an education and will not be nearly prepared for the real world. Christain123 I have to wonder whose dependant you are and how lucky they must be.

aftbrn
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aftbrn 05/13/08 - 10:09 am
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Oh yeah Christian, what

Oh yeah Christian, what happens when dad is fired or layed off if he is the only bread winner in a family? In our house there have been times when I have covered expenses when my wife was in between jobs and she has done the same for me. If only one parent works, and they lose job or gets hurt, what then? This plan to reduce school to four days a week, must be part of the master plan to dumb down America. 20% less schooling in my mind equals 20% less oportunities.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/13/08 - 10:24 am
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To Aftbrn, when dad is laid

To Aftbrn, when dad is laid off, then he can watch the kids while mom works.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/13/08 - 10:25 am
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Now, now, Aftbrn. Having a

Now, now, Aftbrn. Having a four-day school week is not having 20% less school. They lengthen the school day to make up the difference.

ITDoc
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ITDoc 05/13/08 - 11:12 am
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How many families "require"

How many families "require" both parents to work to make ends meet? NONE!!!! The most important gift to my kids was my time, not my money, the quality of their home, the brand of their shoes. If you can't live on what you make, look at the way you live. 4 day school is an idea that's time has come. If you need daycare for your kids, don't expect the schools to be your saviour.

christian134
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christian134 05/13/08 - 01:21 pm
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Amen Little Lamb :-)

Amen Little Lamb :-)

aftbrn
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aftbrn 05/13/08 - 01:21 pm
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My children don't go to

My children don't go to school for daycare, they go to learn. It must be nice to be independantly wealthy that you can leach off your spouse for support. In this day and age it costs twenty dollars to go get a gallon of milk from the store by the time you factor in transportation costs. When was the last time a milk man provided free delivery or the tax man waived you property taxes. So don't give me this BS about. How much quality of a home can you provide for your children these days if you salary is $25,000 or even $40,000. I for one want my kids to have some of the things that I didn't. Let's get this straight, ya'll want to shorten the school week, and then have them do all their homework and extra-ciriculum activities on the other three days? Our whole economy is based on a five day work week, why would we make this change just for schools. The end doesnn't justify the means. How much do you think this would really save the amarican tax payor?

ITDoc
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ITDoc 05/13/08 - 01:30 pm
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Maybe if people married and

Maybe if people married and stayed with the father/mother of their children instead of getting divorced/splitting when things get a little tough, they'd have the help they need? If a one income family is leeching in your warped sense, aftrbrn, that don't surprise me. Don't cry to me because you can't handle your responsibilities. I fathered 3 children, they are all grown and on their own, and I'm STILL with the lovely woman that is their mother. My kids never saw a daycare and they weren't given everything they wanted because I didn't make enough. They were given excessive amounts of discipline at early ages, so that by the time they were exposed to "peer pressure" the fear of what would happen to them at home far exceeded what may happen to them at "school". It's called "raising your own damn children".

aftbrn
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aftbrn 05/13/08 - 01:56 pm
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Tall I appreciate your

Tall I appreciate your raising three kids as I am doing the same. I too, still with the wife I love and adore. We both make a fairly good salary above Georgia's average annual salary. She works by choice and I don't blame her for her own self value and self esteeme. We are both college grads that are struggling. Noone paid our way or gave us anything. The one thing we know is nothing in this world is free. As for discipline, my children all under five will answer you with yes sir or yes mam appropriately. The point I'm making, is that the next generations are going to have to work even harder than we did to maintain. Four days on and three days off is not the answer. If teachers think they can teach the same amount of ciriculum in a four day schedule, I say do it. Then maintain the fifth day and teach them some real life skills. My children are already way ahead of where I was at their age. My only goal is to ensurte that they are better prepared then your children with lifes unexpected plot twists and turns. If I was to use the same mentallity you all are using then, why let woman go to college? They don't need a formal education to stay home and raise kids.

ITDoc
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ITDoc 05/13/08 - 02:06 pm
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Aftrbrn, nice post. The

Aftrbrn, nice post. The benefit of the 4 day week is economic primarily. My suggestion is not Fridays off, but Mondays. This would minimize the effect on athletics. After school programs would be reduced. Many after school programs exist only to keep the kids off the streets. This is accomplished by the longer school day. Keeping the kids longer will also help the poor kids, as there will surely be a need for a free supper program. My wife DID work outside the house, she was willing to keep it part time so she could be there at all times for the kids. When school was cancelled, she stayed home. She made sacrifices, I had the easy part. As a two degree'd family, why on earth are you struggling?

ITDoc
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ITDoc 05/13/08 - 02:09 pm
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And I realize and appreciate

And I realize and appreciate daily that today's women would rail against the deal my wife had. If she hadn't agreed to part time work while raising the kids, I'd not have married her. It's never been a problem because she was raised the same way. Since our youngest moved out, she's gotten her degree and works full time for a judge.

christian134
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christian134 05/13/08 - 02:10 pm
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Excuse me but times are tough

Excuse me but times are tough for everyone aftbrn...They were before and they will be again....If myself and others made it through on one salary why not you and others. The kids are the one when they get older that will reap the rewards of the true meaning of family....Sure it takes work hard work but my goodness it is worth it if the children benefit it in the long run...If people want to have children take care of the children if not then do your own thing....

ITDoc
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ITDoc 05/13/08 - 02:14 pm
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Regarding doing homework and

Regarding doing homework and other school activities: the educational methods are also going to have to change. More emphasis is going to have to be made to teach the kids individually. If Little Johnny has no aptitude for math and science, quit insisting 8 semesters of it. Find what his interests and aptitudes are and nurture it. He will feel more successful, be more positive, and will love to learn. Then he may just find himself interested in math and sciences all by himself. The entire educational model in USA is flawed and needs re-invented.

aftbrn
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aftbrn 05/13/08 - 02:21 pm
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Tall, this is one area we see

Tall, this is one area we see eye to eye. The mass production of education is getting us nowhere quickly. Perhaps, Christian whould change his tune is if he felt that students were getting a better education.

christian134
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christian134 05/13/08 - 02:54 pm
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Education is or lack of

Education is or lack of education is where we all can agree...If a child is not getting the proper amount of discipline and love at home he cannot possibly begin to cope in a nation which worships the "whatever feels good I want it at all costs" thinking and living...It has to start somewhere why not get out and make some noise to change what is obviously not working....I may be outdated by today's standards but it is important that one parent be present when that child comes home...For the single parent we all need to help out....But there again if people who marry would just stay married through the good and bad times it would help out the situation...

ITDoc
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ITDoc 05/13/08 - 03:11 pm
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Further: When a well

Further: When a well intending but slightly flawed person tries to become an agent of change (lets say I decided to run for office), it becomes the #1 priority of the press and his opponents to discover any and all "dirt" to discredit him. Instead of focusing on the deeds that candidate is proposing, the focus is on "I'm better because 38 yrs ago, he tried drugs." "Don't elect him, his cousin once got a DUI dismissed." The best leaders in America are way too smart to go into public service to help all. The pay is less, the scrutiny is overzealous, and the destruction of your private life is complete.

mystery30815
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mystery30815 05/13/08 - 04:16 pm
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There are schools in the U.S.

There are schools in the U.S. that follow the four day school week. There is an article on cnn.com about two districts in Arkansas considering it for the same reasons RCBOE is. The days are extended to make up for the shorter number of days. The majority of shools utilize Tues-Fri. schedules. This allows for less missed days due to federal holidays that normally fall on Mondays. Once again, most of Augusta is against change and are not willing to try anything new. It's kinda like insanity, keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

GET REAL1
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GET REAL1 05/13/08 - 05:38 pm
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TALL 2 How many families

TALL 2 How many families "require" both parents to work to make ends meet? NONE!!!! ...are u suggesting that if the Husband in the home makes 7.00 an hour, that the family should stay in a less than desired neighborhood that the family can afford? Are the parents (such as my husband and I) who enjoy living in nice neighborhoods and enjoy providing our children with nice clothing wrong? My child is a straight A student at CT Walker, he is mannerable. We not only love him, but he is a child that we genuinely like. He is rewarded for his good grades, and good behavior. I am not ashamed that I like nice things. I have never placed a job above my child. But, we want our children to have the best that we can provide. It takes 2 incomes. But, u obviously have all the answers, so tell me what should a mother with 2 children whose husbands makes 7.00 an hour do? Where should they live? What should they eat? Oh I know, DON'T MARRY a man making such a low wage Ladies!! Is that the answer?

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