(NewsNation) — Education as we know it could be changing.
Another Missouri school district joins a growing list of schools opting for a four-day week. The most recent district, Independence east of Kansas City, is the largest in the state to pass the measure. As schools across the country grapple with staff shortages, the district hopes to attract and retain more employees.
Independence will begin its four-day school week beginning in the fall of next year. The plan calls for Monday as an additional day off with 35 minutes added to each of the other four days of the week.
Another 140 smaller, more rural districts of the 518 districts statewide already teach on a four-day schedule.
In 2018, 650 schools across the country in 24 states shortened their week. It’s a trend that’s growing in Texas this year. In the state of Lonestar, 27 districts have moved to a four-day week. The biggest motivation behind this is the teacher shortage.
Last week, NewsNation reported on a district on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida, that lost dozens of teachers and a handful of bus drivers due to increased student misbehavior. Florida and Arizona are two states that have eliminated the requirement that teachers have bachelor’s degrees in certain cases to combat the problem of teacher shortages.
But that’s not the problem at Independence. The district looks to the future, trying to retain and attract teachers. Since the idea was floated in August, they have already seen a 40% increase in applicants.
The biggest concern parents raised in the district was child care, something the PK-12 district already offers to children as young as 5 years old. And now they’re offering a host of ideas for what kids can do on that day off, including what they call enrichment programs, like tutoring or field trips.
The Kansas City mayor tweeted Wednesday, criticizing the decision and saying many children will be home unsupervised. At least one parent NewsNation spoke to said that, especially after COVID, students need more, not less, time in school with in-person instruction.