Lack of substantive evidence is good reason to not have 4-day school week

Dear Editor:

For the past decade Sweetwater County School District No. 1 has had an average graduation rate of about 75 percent, this means 1 in 4 children in our community fails to graduate. The outlook for these individuals is truly grim — low wage jobs, high unemployment, elevated incarceration rates and diminished life expectancy are all correlated with dropping out of high school.

While School Board members and administrators have come and gone, the number of students left behind has remained depressingly high. In an effort to do something, a new "solution" is being proposed, the four-day school week. The District is asserting that giving teachers more dedicated prep time will lead to greater levels of student success.

The National Education Association recently reported on the growing popularity of four-day school weeks and the concerns surrounding that popularity, districts rarely reevaluate the change once it's made and most never switch back to a standard week. The vast majority of districts that adopt four-day school weeks are rural and do so as a cost savings measure. Few schools are adopting the measure as a way to increase student success because the efficacy of such a move is not supported by the data.

There is not a substantive body of evidence that advocates switching to a four-day school week as a way to improve learning outcomes. At best, most studies find that the switch does not have "negative impacts" on student outcomes, hardly a ringing endorsement for this type of change.

Mark Rembacz,

Rock Springs

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