Missouri Families Want to Stick with a 5-Day School Week

(IntegrityPress.org) – A Missouri law from 2018 made it so that schools do not have to have set school days, emphasizing instead the use of instructional hours. Nearly 200 schools took advantage of this new flexibility in setting days and times for school attendance during the 2019–2020 school year. Most of the schools in the state might eventually transition to this system, but some families of students have voiced their concerns and hope to keep the five-day school week.

Advocates for the four-day school week argue that the new system helps with retaining teachers and offers many financial benefits. Critics instead argue that there is not enough data to prove the actual impact on financial savings or a notable increase in teacher retention. Moreover, a review of the effect of the four-day school week indicated a slightly negative impact on academic progress of students, with some declines in scores for math and language arts. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the state claims this impact can be considered negligible.

Although the data shows only a very tiny impact, the preferences of parents and taxpayers show a clear preference for the five-day week. The Show-Me Institute recently conducted a poll involving 1,200 parents from the state that revealed a majority of them were in favor of the traditional five-day school week. Only about a quarter of the respondents preferred the four-day alternative.

Parents who face issues in childcare were the majority of the people who argued against the new system in the poll. These people voiced their struggles to afford or find dependable child care for the extra free day. These results highlight important issues families could face if they have to adapt to a shortened school week. The biggest support for the four-day school week came from those residing in rural areas.

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