Letter: Four-day charade
As your local school district considers the four-day school week, you will certainly want to research the DESE website and see the truth of how it has negatively impacted the Lathrop, Mo., School District. As you study the effects since the 2009-2010 school year, you will see that graduation rates have dropped dramatically, from 94 percent to 79 percent! You will see that test scores have dropped across the board, especially in the elementary school, where children have a hard time learning after 1 p.m. and the last three hours of school are a wash for them. You will see that the drop-out rates increased.
The top sin of the four-day for kids? The IEP students with disabilities, especially those with cognitive and developmental disabilities, had their MAP scores drop from 34.6 all the way to a dismal 12.2. Why? Learning requires consistency and frequency. Try teaching French to an elementary school student for six hours a week. You will find that the child exposed to the lessons one hour a day/six days a week will learn much more than a child that has three two-hour lessons or two three-hour lessons. And this philosophy goes double for kids with special needs. Simply put, the kids often lose what they learned in four days during their long three days off, forcing them to actually have to start over again or, at least, have a lengthy review to refresh what they had lost.
The truth about Lathrop (again, you will find this with your own research) is that it saved the school about 1 percent on their annual budget. A positive? The teachers, including many administrator, get three days off a week. The rest of the town, many who work six days a week and commute, are left with the burden of higher bills, no day care and an education that will never reach the average level that was held in Lathrop.
THOMAS A. BRISCOE