LETTER: Lots of questions before adopting four-day school week

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 | 4:35 p.m. CST; updated 4:41 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In the news story titled "Missouri House endorses four-day school week option" there are a lot of things I have seen that are missing.

In city areas, how will this effect future crime rates as these kids out of school realize that they have more time on their hands?

What about those kids who will be home alone?

How will this affect those with children in day care, now that they will have to pay for an extra day?

Where are all of these kids out of school going to go where they can stay out of trouble?

How will this effect the law enforcement state wide?

You might see a blessing in this measure, but I see a disaster being perpetrated at future taxpayers' expense. As a taxpayer, is that what you really want or deserve to have dumped upon you or your family and friends?

These are just some honest questions every citizen should be asking themselves. Contact all of your local school board representatives, local police chiefs, sheriff, county commissioners, city councilmen, church leadership, community leadership, governor, state senators and representatives and voice your views about this issue.

This would affect all citizens, not just students and their parents.

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Mark Foecking February 26, 2009 | 9:02 a.m.

My views on the issue are not ones that I need to contact anyone about, since I have no children in the system. However, each district should be able to make their own rulings on this.

In a lot of rural communities, they have very little crime, and farmers and ranchers are home a lot anyway. Perhaps a four day school week would not work in a city, but it might work very well in a sparsely populated rural school district, where they could use less energy for the school building and the buses.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 26, 2009 | 9:57 a.m.

From the article: "Districts choosing a four-day week could lengthen their school days by an hour and have 32 fewer days of instruction each year. The total number of annual instruction hours would stay the same."

When would "number of days in school" options stop?
3 days of school a week? That would mean 64 days saved on transportation and utilities.
Traditionally, the 5 day public school day allowed for at least one parent to work a paid 5-day full-time job, while the other was involved in "house work" and in the community activities, such as the PTA or Church volunteer work. If the family was able to have both parents working a "regular" job, so be it.
Kids either hiked to school, biked to school or were dropped off by someone other than the school paid bus driver. Why do the public schools even provide "free bus service" to begin with? As a parent, shouldn't I be able to figure out how my own kid gets to school other than "free" public school buses?
How lazy, spoiled and uncreative have parents and bureaucrats become?
Per the article, "supporters say some rural school districts are interested in the idea because it would save money on transportation and utilities."
I say, work on the quality of education and make our schools a healthier environment for our kids and teachers.
If saving money on transportation and utilities are that important, then I suggest school districts "go green," modify the "free" bus program or find some other ways to "save or raise" money.

And while I agree with the concept of, "local school boards making decisions and having options". I think it would be more appropriate for school boards to have the option to petition the state for a 4 day school week. (Or even request for a 6 or 7 day school week, if a case were made.)
Approval of this variance would have to be predicated on more than just utility and transportation savings or to allow parents to work "odd" job days.
(Those smarter than I can work out the details).
And as implied in Mr. Dudley's letter above, who would be addressing the impact a school board's carte blanche decision would have on the entire community? Especially when it seems that the board's decision could be based solely on their own budgetary concerns, with little regard for the community-at-large.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 26, 2009 | 10:31 a.m.

>>> And as implied in Mr. Dudley's letter above, who would be addressing the impact a school board's carte blanche decision would have on the entire community? Especially when it seems that the board's decision could be based solely on their own budgetary concerns, with little regard for the community-at-large. <<<

That is the big question I fear alot do not want to touch thus why this letter to the editor.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 26, 2009 | 11:05 a.m.

A school board will follow the wishes of the public it serves, otherwise they will be voted out of office. See what happened in Columbia after some in the public grew dissatisifed with certain board members.

(Report Comment)
Angela Day February 26, 2009 | 12:59 p.m.

What about high school kids that w/ jobs they need to get to after school? Should we tell companies to adjust?

Absorption of information? Will this be diminished? How many hours a day can we expect a student to sit and absorb information? Missouri law currently does not offer but 3,000 minutes of gym (actual movement) to middle school children but requires high school students to take a full year of gym all four years to graduate. My son has a high IQ and is a visual spatial learner. He requires movement throughout his day in order to process/ absorb information. He has struggled this year transitioning to sixth grade because they expect you to sit from 7:55 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. with four minutes of movement between classes and 20 minutes of movement at lunch and one six weeks. This is not conducive to children are on the higher learning capability spectrum.

Remember 50%+ of households have two working parents. What about parents that do not currently utilize any form of daycare service and would have to find care for only one day per week. How many providers provide services for one day a week? What about the parents that would have increased costs for a full day of care they do not currently have to pay for?

A very small percentage of companies allow four day work weeks but large majorities do not. Parents will not have cutting back to a four day work week as an "option."

What about after school activities? Will they be adjusted so children will get home later in the evening during the four days they are in school and then have to adjust scheduling for dinner and homework?

My biggest concern is the reasoning of "there is not enough time to fit everything we need to do in" that I have already been given for situations occurring in our school.

Another concern is that the online system our district offers to track your children’s grades, lunch money, etc. isn’t updated regularly. School administration indicated they ask teachers to update every Wednesday for the prior week information. This hasn’t been occurring since the beginning of the year. I was told that is because the teachers can only update when they are at school. So, here is another concern if we remove them from school more will this system ever function as it is meant to function?

What about parents that cannot afford after school care already and leave their children home unsupervised when they probably would not if they could afford it. These children will be left at home for a full day instead of just an hour or two after school.

I think there are many issues that would need to be resolved for this to be a viable solution to reduce costs in education without being detrimental to children and families.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 26, 2009 | 2:21 p.m.

>>> I think there are many issues that would need to be resolved for this to be a viable solution to reduce costs in education without being detrimental to children and families.<<<

Thus why this letter to the editor to get public opinion going on about all of this and phone calls,emails and more media coverage of public opinion over all.

Spread the word and voice your concerns and do not be afraid ever to stand up and be heard.

(Report Comment)
Regina Dredge February 26, 2009 | 3:59 p.m.

How could this work better in a rural community where daycare providers/facilities are few and far between. I am a working mom not a farmer or rancher so I am not home as much. I have two children in school and it would cost me extra daycare expenses if they only went four days. Not to mention the fact that I don't think my youngest could handle an extra hour in the school day. Plus the fact that it would push our nightly routine back an hour too. Less quality family time in the evenings and less time to do their homework! I can't make up the hours on Friday when they are not in school! I have to work on Fridays and send them to daycare! Plus are we being realistic....are they going to graduate and start work at a job where they only have to work 4 days a week instead of five!!!! Seriously. I think someone should have asked all of us working moms what we thought about this!!!!

(Report Comment)
Angela Day February 26, 2009 | 4:08 p.m.

Exactly Regina. There are fewer professional daycares as well as individual daycare providers in these areas. How can they absorb the children that will need daycare for one day only? And worse yet for those who can't afford and have to leave their child home unattended when they would rather not.

Someone needs to start taking accountability for mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, over inflated salaries for superintendents and school administrators, etc. There is savings that can be found but not to the detriment of our children and families.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 26, 2009 | 4:11 p.m.

Before people get in too much of a rage here, this bill hasn't even passed the House yet, let alone been signed by the Governor. Concerned? Then contact your state representative and senators with your issues on the bill. If it does pass, continue the process with your local school board if they consider going to a four-day week.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 26, 2009 | 5:02 p.m.

Thank you John Schultz that is exactly why I posted this series of questions up here and the suggestions of getting in touch with those who can help.

Even though it is not passed any community commentary generated gets others thinking and moving forward on this issue more than they were.

(Report Comment)
Angela Day February 27, 2009 | 1:09 p.m.

John, it did pass yesterday. It's going to the Senate. This is one place to let people know that they need to look up their representatives and senators and let them know their thoughts so that all information can be given consideration before the Senate passes it.

Please everyone go look up your representatives and senators and let them know what you think.

Our country is in turmoil. Our representatives and senators represent "us" the people. We do have a voice through them. They listen when many speak. If people think everyone else will be speaking and they shouldn't waste their time, ultimately you let someone make a decision for you! It's time "we the people" start understanding the impact we truly can make by contacting the people we elect to represent us and let them know what we think before they vote! ON ANY AND ALL ISSUES THAT AFFECT YOU! They really do want to hear. And if they don't want to hear from you, they shouldn't be in office. When people speak in numbers they can make a difference. Of course, it's not always going to be in your favor but you would be surprised at the impact we can make in government if we understand our role. Our role is to speak to our representatives as often as possible on any and all issues that affect us.


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