Yesterday, the Illinois House approved a bill that would create a 4-day school week for many Illinois schools. The bill was passed by an 81-21 vote.
What the heck are these people thinking?
I understand that the state and the school systems are in serious financial trouble. I know that very tough decisions have to be made. I also understand that this change would help cut building and busing costs. What I do NOT understand is how anyone could think that this measure would be good for Illinois kids.
Proponents argue that kids will still be in school for the same number of hours because of longer school days and shorter vacations. So are we talking about keeping first graders (who are six and seven years-old) in school from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.? I know a lot of six and seven year-olds and that is a long day for kids that age (or any age really). God help the teacher that is trying to teach math to a bunch of seven year-olds who have been in a classroom for 7 hours already.
And what are kids going to do on the fifth day of the work week when their parents are presumably at work? This measure seems to just put another burden on struggling families. Plus, I worry that it puts kids at risk by leaving them on their own where trouble no doubt awaits.
This is the best solution to the current budget troubles in our schools? It may be an expeditious solution, but it can't be the best we can come up with. In the wake of the House vote, I've yet to read any legitimate reasons why this change would be good for students.
I don't mean to incite panic. This bill has yet to go before the Senate. In its current form, the bill would require public hearings before a school district would make the change. And CPS has said that they are not considering moving to a 4-day school week.
But still. What are we doing here? Any legislation that aims to reform the educational system must be done with the welfare of the students as the main objective. This piece of legislation doesn't seem to do that.