Oklahoma School Leaders Concerned About 5-Day School Week Bill
This week, the Senate Education Committee approved Senate Bill 441, which would restore the five-day school week. But some districts say the change would hinder the progress they've seen.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Education, there are 208 schools, in 92 Oklahoma districts that participate in four-day school weeks. The bill would require all public schools to be in session for no less than 180 days a year.
The districts originally said they moved to four-day weeks to save money. But lawmakers say the savings have been minimal, and the schedule isn't properly preparing students.
“The reality is when you go into the workforce, it's not going to be, in many cases, not even a five-day work week. But sometimes even a six-day workweek,” said Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore.
But Noble Public Schools, and several other districts say the benefits academically, outweigh the money saved by participating in four-day weeks.
“We've decreased the percentage greatly on how many times our kids are not in front of the actual teacher because they have to miss for an activity,” said Tony Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Noble Public Schools.
Smith also says, their overall ACT scores have risen this past year. He wants more time to study the pros and cons before the four-day weeks are taken away.
“Why do we get away from that local decision? And the local control of making that decision of what's best for our school?” he added.
Students and parents are also chiming in to discuss the bill.
“Me personally, my grades have improved a lot more since the four-day school weeks,” said Newcastle High School Senior, Aubree Jones.
One parent from Crescent Public Schools tells News 9 in part, "We are a small school within a small district. We shouldn't be compared to the bigger school. Our situations are different…”
Some lawmakers claim four-day weeks have resulted in a loss of teachers and businesses.
So, district officials are now calling on legislators for those statistics to be released.
However, this bill will allow for flexibility if school districts can prove that four-day weeks aren't impacting student achievement and are saving the local district money.