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4-day school weeks are on the rise in districts across America. Are they working?

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School districts across the country are trying to attract and retain teachers by shifting to a four-day school week.
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In Missouri, approximately one-third of the state’s school districts have adopted a four-day school week. Gabrielle Hays, correspondent for PBS NewsHour in St. Louis communities, delves into the experiences of schools and families in Missouri amidst this transition.

Dale Herl, the superintendent of the Independence School District, emphasizes that their decision to implement a four-day school week this year was solely aimed at attracting and retaining top-tier staff. The trend is not unique to Missouri, as Aaron Pallas from Columbia University’s Teachers College notes a rapid increase in the nationwide adoption of this new schooling model.

The four-day school week has found favor in states like Missouri and Oregon. However, in states such as Oklahoma, government restrictions limit the districts eligible for this change, citing concerns about potential academic setbacks for students.

Compounding the issue in Missouri is the state’s distinction of having the lowest average starting teacher salary in the nation. This financial challenge hampers the recruitment of new teachers and the retention of existing ones. Alarming statistics from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reveal that almost 14 percent of full-time teaching positions were either unfilled or staffed by underqualified individuals during the 2022-2023 school year.

β€œEveryone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

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