Four-Day School Weeks Could Be Coming To Acadia Parish Schools
A growing trend in parts of the country - including some parishes in Louisiana - is a shift to shortened work weeks.
At least, for students.
Avoyelles Parish was one of the first in the state to make the shift back in 2019. Their school board voted to eliminate classes on Mondays. Caldwell and Franklin Parishes have adopted the new 4-day model, and others have considered it.
But now, the trend may be coming to Acadiana as Acadia Parish Schools are asking for input regarding a potential move to the 4-day model.
On their website, the Acadia Parish school system announced that they are looking for "feedback regarding the possible implementation of a four-day work week for both Acadia Parish School System students and employees" and have provided a survey link to people in the parish.
What Are The Benefits?
Some advocates of the change cite the savings that come with shutting down schools one extra day a week, though some admit that those savings can be modest at best. Rather they focus on teacher recruitment and better mental health.
More than 500 districts nationwide have adopted the new system, and many are reporting higher attendance rates and lower discipline rates. But due to state requirements for the number of minutes students have to get in each subject, school days become longer to accommodate.
Impacts In Acadiana
Such a shift may not just impact Acadia Parish. Nearby parishes could be at risk of losing certified teachers to a district that offers a shorter week. Districts that score highly like Lafayette and Vermilion may lose some of the teachers behind those high scores to a parish that offers a 4-day work week.
It would also have an impact on parents' work schedules. While teachers and students tend to like the idea of a shorter week more, many families with working parents struggle to find care for their children while they are at work, and paying for care for younger students is an extra burden they would have to incur.
What Experts Say
- “It is harder for rural districts to get teachers that are highly qualified or honestly, sometimes to get teachers period, into their buildings and to retain them than it is for town or suburban districts. All of this is anecdotal, but they’re saying in interviews that teachers are happier. They like spending more time with their own children. It gives them time to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.” -Emily Morton, NWEA
- “In school districts that don't increase time in school on those other four days, students are really suffering because they're losing a lot of ‘time-in-seat’ as a result. We see a lot of negative achievement effects in places that didn't decide to expand the school day much on those remaining four days.” -Paul Thompson, Professor at Oregon State University
- "Our results generally indicate a positive relationship between the four-day week and performance in reading and mathematics. These findings suggest there is little evidence that moving to a four-day week compromises student academic achievement. This research has policy relevance to the current U.S. education system, where many school districts must cut costs.” -D. Mark Anderson and Mary Beth Walker, MIT