Texas bill could ban four-day school weeks, which have already been implemented in some Central Texas districts
If passed, Senate Bill 2368 would prohibit shortened school weeks
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The growing trend of a four-day school week is making its way into conversations in Central Texas, but a bill currently under discussion, SB 2368, has the potential to ban shortened weeks, despite many districts already opting for them in the upcoming school year.
Academy, Rockdale, and China Spring ISDs are just some of the districts that have already announced the switch to a four-day week, citing teacher retention as the driving force behind their decisions.
“Some of our biggest challenges include teacher retention, and teacher shortage, the substitute shortage, student and staff attendance, those kinds of things,” Marc Faulkner, the superintendent of China Spring ISD, told KWTX earlier this year.
“The applicants just aren’t there, and we thought we could attract some people that would want to go to this type of model to come teach in our district,” Billy Harlan, the superintendent of Academy ISD, said.
But Texas senator Donna Campbell (R) isn’t so sure. At Thursday’s legislative session, she brought proposed bill 2368, SB 2368, to the senate floor. If passed, it would prohibit shortened school weeks.
In a statement, Campbell said “The data about learning loss due to the covid-19 pandemic is deeply concerning to parents and families: reading scores nationally dropped to 19-92 levels and math scores showed the largest decline ever recorded.”
SB 2368 would mandate a minimum of 175 instructional days and at least 75,600 minutes of operation per year.
Harlan says a decision this big should be up to individual districts, not the state.
“Removing local control from independent school districts is not the answer,” Harlan told KWTX. “We have to have that flexibility, we have to be able to do what’s in the best interest of our school districts.”
Retired Midway ISD teacher and co-president of the Waco McLennan County Retired Teachers Association Karen Kay agrees, but says she understands both sides of the issue.
“On the other side, I get it,” Kay said. “Trying to get that fifth day covered, if both parents are working, and now you have another thing you’re trying to get solved on the family level.”
Kay continued, saying that, “not every district is faced with the same problems to solve.”
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