Schools are responding to Texas law abolishing 4-day school weeks
Senator Donna Campbell’s rationale for the bill is that a shorter week can have a negative impact on students and families.
TEXAS, U.S. — Public school districts across Texas either have or are on track to introduce four-day school weeks for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. Locally, Academy ISD, Rockdale ISD and China Spring ISD have already approved this change. However, the Texas Senate is proposing a bill that would eliminate this.
State Senator Donna Campbell suggested Senate Act 2368which abolishes the four-day week and prescribes five-day school weeks.
She believes students cannot afford to lose any more class time following the gaps in reading and math scores created during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another reason for the bill is that a shorter week can have a negative impact on both students and families, as families need to find childcare during the one day off, she said.
“You still have your fixed expenses, you still have all your salaries, you still have all these expenses, whether you’re there four days or five days,” said District 55 Assemblyman Hugh Shine. “You have parents who rely on childcare, they will be able to find someone to look after their children one day a week.”
Academy ISD Superintendent Billy Harlan says four-day weeks help smaller districts like Academy ISD compete with Texas school districts that offer higher starting salaries for teachers. Harlan also said a shorter school week could also help with teacher recruitment across Texas and across the country.
“Anyone who advocates 175 mandatory days and a five-day school week really misses the idea of teacher retention and hiring,” Harlan said. “If we created a system to have more teachers, how bad is that? When we passed the four-day model that we are running right now, we had a tremendous response from applications.”
Despite the push for the new law, that hasn’t stopped Harlan and other school districts from pushing for fixes.
“We’re in the process of working with some local organizations and having a free daycare every Friday that we have off, which is expected to be open from 7 a.m. to about 6 p.m.,” Harlan said.
If SB 2368 is passed, schools would need to:
- Have at least 175 teaching days per year
- Allow at least 75,600 minutes for classes, breaks, and student breaks
The bill is still in committee. For more information about the invoice, see Click here.