In an effort to close budget shortfalls, a small-but-growing number of school districts nationwide are apparently going to a four day week. This is so sad, and so indicative of serious problems in American society, that I simply don't know what to say. Research may not have been done on the question, but any teacher can tell you that the less time kids have to study something, the less they're going to learn, and American kids need more time in the classroom, not less. If they don't get it, it quite literally threatens the future of our country - you can't run a modern democracy with an ignorant populace, and you can't run a modern economy with an ill-educated workforce. If we're not willing to put money and effort into educating our children, that's what we're going to end up with.
I think that in many cases local authorities do do a better job of solving a community's problems than statewide or national ones, and I generally prefer on many issues decentralized power structures that devolve as much power as possible to that level. Events like this are enough to convince me that education is an exceptional case, however. If we cannot provide our children - all of them - with the opportunity to get the education they'll need to keep America up and running as a society when they reach adulthood, we are failing as a society, and there's no other way to put it.
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