Monday, February 25, 2019

Stillwater News Press defends four-day school weeks

The Stillwater News Press editorial board doesn't like the idea of prohibiting four-day school weeks:
“We’d love to come do business in Oklahoma, but it turns out some of your smaller school districts are only in class four days a week, so we’ll have to pass.”

Let’s go ahead and file that under things that almost certainly have not been said by major companies.

Two bills are running through the Oklahoma Legislature that would mandate five-day school districts, mainly as even our Sen. Tom Dugger has said, because four-day school weeks make us look bad. We probably shouldn’t go into all the things coming out of the Capitol that have made Oklahoma look bad to outsiders, but we can address the school week issue with ease because we have several local districts that use the four-day school week. Here’s the thing—they like it. And whatever happened to wanting local control for districts?

The bills are hedged by the caveats would allow for school districts to remain at four days a week if they can prove it’s saving money and improving student performance. That the burden of proof would retroactively being put on the school districts doesn’t make much sense. If anyone had bothered to ask, they would probably have heard from many districts ready to share proof that the shorter week has been working for them, possibly even helping with teacher retention. And, once districts are able to prove this, and manage to stay at a four-day week, then what becomes of the national perception legislators were worried about? The bills were created to give a better impression of the state, right?

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