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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Idea That Continues to Grow On Me

I wrote about public schools that are switching from the traditional 5 day a week schedule to a 4 day a week schedule in order to save costs on transportation, food, utilities, substitute teachers, and more. I did *not* write about the idea as a practical suggestion of what can be done to alleviate some of the costs of Orthodox schooling. I wrote about the idea basically because I found it interesting and it demonstrated cost saving, out of the box thinking that I can appreciate.

In the comments section, however, commentor TrilCat made a suggestion of a 4 day a week schedule with an extended school year for day schools schools (she obviously wasn't addressing schools that believe in a 6 day school schedule, but the schools who are still on a 5 day school week). No doubt, few schools, if any, would even be interested to experiment with such a schedule. But, the longer the idea sits in the back of the mind, the more I love it.

I have to wonder if a school willing to experiment for a year would find that they and the parents love the schedule. A person can dream, right?

Let's start with the cons:
*Lost opportunities for summer enrichment: Motivated students often try to get internships or take courses at the local junior college or University. Having school extend into the summer might make such opportunities impossible. Those who have extracurricular interests will have difficulty pursuing more intensive opportunities only available during the summer.

*The biggest loser? Summer camps. And many Rebbis and Morohs depend on this source of income. Although I'm sure the free market would take over to provide other money making opportunities (anyone sending their kids to winter camp?), there is a tremendous amount of money invested in summer camps, especially sleep away camps, many of which advertise rather incredible facilities. Summer day camps housed in schools that turn a profit represent lost dollars to a already tight budget. I can only imagine the fear that would ensue if parents liked the idea and wanted to give it a try.

*Some people do go into teaching because they like the traditional school schedule and want their summer off to pursue their own interests. Even if the hours were the same, they might not be interested in teaching on an alternative schedule without extra pay, pushing up the price of tuition even further.

*Parents who need day care on Fridays will be intimidated, at least initially. (But, many parents I know of end up trying to hire care for weekday evenings because they are already trying to squeeze most of their 40 plus hours into 4 1/2 days as it is and they might find it easier to arrange a nice block of time for childcare than 2-3 hours after school).


Some of the pros that I see to a 4 day a week *extended year* school schedule include:

*Fewer absences: Having Friday to travel to family simchas or other such events should decrease both student absences, as well as teacher absences. Inevitably, whenever I take my kids to the doctors, I meet a parent taking their kid(s) in for well visits during school hours. Having a day off every week should make it possible to schedule appointments without pulling kids out of school.

*A nice block of time for homework/research: My husband pointed out to me just how difficult it was for him to actually do the research required for papers when you get out of school between 6 and 7PM with a backpack full of homework and the library is closed on Sunday. In addition, after a long day of school, finding a good block of time to really concentrate on schoolwork isn't easy. Having a 3 day weekend could be advantageous for the serious student.

*Increased employment opportunities for (present) homemakers: Flexible work schedules abound in today's world. There are 4/40 workweeks, 9/8/80 workweeks where an employee can take one day off of work every other week. Two parents working 9/8/80 workweeks conceivably could arrange to have different Fridays off, so someone is always home on the kid's day off. Employers today are quite flexible about employees telecommuting for short periods of time. Those who work part time can often set creative schedules. But, I don't know of any employer who wants their employee to telecommute, take off, or get particularly creative with scheduling for an entire summer. . . and paying for camp and additional childcare arrangements for the weeks between school and camp for the (potential) part time employee is enough to make taking on even part time work look like a loosing proposal (because it often is).

I am friends with a mother who has contemplated taking a "regular" job outside the home (she currently has a small number of clients and works in her home) because they pay would be better. However, between carpools to different schools, all of the various appointments, half days, and the long summer (her kids don't need camp when she can adjust her work accordingly), it just seems to make more sense to stick with lower paying part time work. But, I could see increased opportunity for this part time working mother if her kids were on an extended year, 4 day a week school schedule. As a mother with a smaller family that works from the home, I too could see employment opportunities open up that don't require massive related expenses if my children had a 4 day extended year school schedule.

*Year round schooling is popular with some educators because there is greater retention of material.

*And speaking of long summers, there are many parents who are intimidated by having their children home all summer, even if they are already home. They simply don't find the idea pleasant in the least. Of course, I know some parents who can't even take a week of the kids home, either. But, I imagine that many mothers who are already home, yet have a difficult time managing their children all summer and have come to rely on camp for breathing room, could handle smaller break(s) without outside help, lessening their own expenses.

This is my very rough brainstorm, so please excuse any incomplete thoughts. Add your comments please. Does the idea appeal to you, why or why not? How would it make employment easier or more difficult for you if your kids were only in school Monday through Thursday?

Also, if there is anyone interested in running this idea by their own administration, let me know what the reaction is and feel free to write a guest post.

32 comments:

David said...

Sounds like a great idea to me.

ProfK said...

I don't see any advantages in the 4-day system for yeshivas and/or parents and see lots of disadvantages.
1. Those few school systems that are experimenting with the 4-day week still have to meet the 180 day per year of instructions requirement. That means 45 weeks of instruction and 7 weeks of vacation. 4-day weeks don't mean year-round school. Working parents are still faced with long periods to arrange child care in addition to one more day during the week.
2. Because of the 180 days of instruction there is no savings on busing or utilities or on administrative and teaching salaries--school is still there for the same 180 days only spread out differently.
3. Some school districts with the 4-day week have found that their expenses have increased, because it costs them more to air condition a school than to heat it. Not to mention that many schools were not built with adequate cooling systems or any cooling systems since school was not going to be held in the summer. Real estate taxes can and have gone up to pay for the cooling installation and running costs. For yeshiva parents that translates into higher tuition.
4. Not all jobs can be accomplished via telecommuting, nor can all jobs be condensed down to a 4-day/40 hour week. If businesses require a 5-day or more coverage then not all parents will be able to rearrange their schedules, leaving them no better off if their kids have a 4-day a week schedule.
5. Assuming that parents can work a 4-day week and their children have the same 4-day school schedule doesn't mean that more parent/child activities will ensue. The parent who is working a 10-hour day will still have to have time to do regular home maintenance/activities and shopping, only now that will all wait for Friday/Sunday. That doesn't translate into parent/child time.
6. Many of the public school systems that have the 4-day week give off Monday, not Friday. Their experience is that more children are absent after the weekend than before it. A Monday off but Friday school schedule would not work for yeshivas.
7. Unless all yeshivas in an area adopted the identical school schedule parents would still be left with the problems they face today: children in different schools with different dismissals and different time off.

I can't see any real advantages to the 4-day week. Being able to go to a simcha earlier on a Friday is not enough of a reason for me to tinker with the system in this way.

By the way, NY libraries are open on Sunday--not every branch but many in each area. It might pay to put some effort into talking to your elected representatives if your library system is closed on Sunday.

tesyaa said...

ProfK, all your points make a lot of sense, and before people start picking them apart, realize that not each one applies to every situation.

About libraries (side point): our local library is open for 4 hours on Sundays, but not in the summer. I dread the day even the partial Sundays fall to budget cuts! In these times communities might not be adding funds to increase library hours, unfortunately.

Dave, your profile is private and you have spoken of yourself as an "outsider", yet you have many interesting things to say! I would love to know more about where you're coming from.

SephardiLady said...

ProfK-I don't think Yeshivot will hav the cost savings some public schools experience, partly because they often double as locations for community lectures and other functions.

If I were introducing this proposal, I would introduce it in a school that goes from Pre-school to High School because parents already hate having kids on different schedules, and I would stick some of the extra vacation time during the year, so the summer is shortened.

Of course a 4 day a week schedule wouldn't work for every single parent's employment. But, neither does the current schedule. I have a neighbor who regularly works in the evenings, and his wife has late evenings too. So, they have to hire a babysitter. School does not and will not cover everyone's schedule.

As it is, only some schools give the kids off winter vacation like the public schools. My father-in-law's workplace used to completely close for the week of Christmas and New Years because of the cost savings involved in completely closing. But the kids did not get off until the 3rd week of January until the kids were back in school.

Think about all of te accountants out there who are busting their rears during January, but are much more relaxed during December. They aren't spending quality time together during January, but might have tried something more during December.

Basically, no schedule will ever please everyone. But, I can see how this proposal would really work well for us.

BTW-Our libraries have brief Sunday hours. But, budget cuts are threatning those I believe.

SephardiLady said...

Wow tesyaa-I can't imagine having libraries closed all summer. The summer programming in our library system has provided a lot of summer fun for my kids.

tesyaa said...

Not closed all summer, closed all summer Sundays. And they are open until 9 pm on 4 out of 5 weeknights.

Anonymous said...

SephardiLady, your four day school week post is intriguing, but I’m not sure its halachically viable in our current reality. The Halacha of teaching torah to children seems to dictate that children (read boys) be taught torah most of the daytime (and a little once its dark) every day of the week except on shabbatot when we are actually not supposed to teach them anything new as it is too burdensome:) . Sundays ( Shabbat sheni shel galuyot ) seem to have been a concession to the work week realities of teachers at the time of the establishment of most American day schools. Adding another day to the weekend would only work if parents would pick up the Talmud torah requirement slack for their children (kree, boys) on Fridays which probably would end up in more camps springing up everywhere and more money being spent. On the other hand if Talmud Torah halchot were the sole criteria for children’s education, we could easily shave off 75% of our current expenditure!!:)
Former lurker now known as batmelech

SephardiLady said...

A good comment and an important concern, which probably would only be solved by adding more expense and making a plan like this less viable. But I still like it.

Lion of Zion said...

BATMELECH (ANON)

"The Halacha of teaching torah to children seems to dictate that children (read boys) be taught torah most of the daytime (and a little once its dark) every day of the week except on shabbatot"

first i'd like a makor for that statement. and then i'd like mekorot for why this "halakhic" imperative is regularly breeched in so many ways. for starters, how many days of school were your children (boys, if you prefer) deprived of torah study this past september?

Commenter Abbi said...

batmelech-

Who says children can't learn Torah on their "days off"? Torah can only be learned in school? What's your makor?

aml said...

what is the 180- day rule and is there any reason that cannot be extended. I would think it fruitless to make a change like this and not add school days- a lot more school days.

SephardiLady said...

The 4 day schedule I envision would be an extended school year, i.e. extended beyond 180 days.

tesyaa said...

More days = more tuition so I can't see how this can be a tuition savings. Yes, more learning (Judaic & secular) is a plus.

JLan said...

" SephardiLady said...
The 4 day schedule I envision would be an extended school year, i.e. extended beyond 180 days."

That would be exceptionally difficult. 4 days * 52 weeks per year= 208 Monday through Thursday days. This leaves a total of 7-8 weeks of no school. It's less than that, particularly in a year like this one, when most days of Yom Tov fall over weekdays. Add in chol hamoed (at least for Pesach) and you'll end up with maybe 5 weeks without school. Presuming that we're occasionally giving kids time off- certainly even many people in the workforce have a couple weeks off- we're talking 2-3 weeks of additional school, i.e., not much.

The trick here is that we're assuming that 1 day=1 day. The legal 180 day requirements don't change even when you make a school day longer. So even though we're saying 5 old school days=4 new ones in terms of instructions, the state still says that 4 new school days= 4 old ones, not 5.

As a side note- I really don't understand the practice of "yeshiva break" in January. Fine, so giving off over Christmas is giving off over Chrismas. It's an acknowledgement that the rest of the country, outside of retail and food service, generally has that time off. On the other hand, I find having school on Christmas- just to have school on Christmas- to be exceptionally nasty at any school where the maintenance staff, etc is predominantly not Jewish.

SephardiLady said...

JLan-Agreed with you on winter break.

I haven't put a calendar on paper. I guess I was envisioning the same number of hours, just spread over the year with only 4 days of school a week.

Of course there will still be gaps and some type of summer break. It seems to me the long break is just too long for many parents. Of course, some parents can't take even a week. I figure there would be cost savings to those parents that don't need to send to camp, but do because they can't take 8 weeks of kids underfoot.

nava said...

I actually attended a 4-day school for a year, and there were good and bad points to it.

Students who aren't dedicated are still going to push off their homework until the last second (like me!) even though they have a full extra day to get it done. Also, having 4 days of instruction is good, but then you have 3 days instead of 2 to forget everything :).
BTW, the 180-day requirements are to be eligible for funding from the government and/or have transcripts/diplomas recognised by government institutions. There are ways to work around this, including submitting to standardised tests. (I was also honmeschooled, and I did not keep track of days at all; we got around it by testing.)

The good that I recall from the school was less burnout, for both the teachers and students. It's amazing what one less day of preparing and sitting and teaching/memorizing by a schedule does for people. We were also able to do more intensive research and projects because of that day off, and the teachers had more time to be thorough in their evaluations of our work. We also had more time for family trips, etc, and taking a week off meant making up 4 days of work, rather than 5, which was slightly more doable. (Teachers could also give us work to do while we were away, with enough warning.) Basically, it was a lot more relaxed as far as atmosphere, but the instruction was excellent, if not better, than most other schools I attended.
Now, my mom was not working outside the home, so having us home an extra day really didn't affect her, but I know a few families who could not have the kids home on Fridays so there was a rotating 'kid-swap' they arranged, with those who didn't babysit compensating those who did.
We didn't have an extended school year either, so I can't speak to the pros or cons of an extended school year, but it is true that those who are in a year-round program seem to have better retention. Also, who says those 7 weeks off have to be all at once? My nieces and nephew attend a school with an extended year, and they get 2-week vacations throughout the year, so far in October and now again in December-January, with a few more to come. It's a lot easier for working parents to arrange a two-week vacation from work, or two weeks of childcare or find a one or two-week camp than to find some way to fit 3 months of vacation into their schedules. Last point; I would think it would be easier to spread tuition amount over another month; unless there are schools that require everything up front? Also, most teachers I know love their long vacation (because they are exhausted by then!) but also find it stressful to save up for those 2-3 months with no pay; many now have part of their paychecks withheld so they can continue receiving regular salaries over the summer. I would think another month of steady income would be welcome there as well?

tesyaa said...

In our schools that have school on Thanksgiving, Xmas, etc, the nonJewish staff are off. The buses don't run and parents, who are off from work, do the transportation. So that's not a reason to close school those days, and although I'm very open minded, there's no reason to send the kids the message that we need to change our schedules for the nonJewish holidays. A lot of the schools have done away with the January break, or may give just a day or two. And most corporations give off Xmas and New Year's day, not the whole week, so it's just as easy for me to take vacation days in January as in December.

Anonymous said...

So that's not a reason to close school those days, and although I'm very open minded, there's no reason to send the kids the message that we need to change our schedules for the non-Jewish holidays.

No, no, no, that's not the reason (non-Jewish holidays) to close the schools on those days! The real reason is because the parents are off from work. I work very long hours and the few days that I am off, I would like to be able to spend them with my children. For example, my office is closed today, tomorrow, and Friday, but some of my kids have school today and tomorrow, which leaves only Friday, a short day, to enjoy with them.

Mark

Al said...

Mark, you are apparently under the mistaken impression that you are supposed to enjoy your children. Children are an obligation, not a source of pleasure. You must keep having them, being miserable with them, and work long hours to pay a Rebbe to tell them how lousy you are for working instead of learning Torah!

The "Yeshiva Week" is horrible, and created to accommodate the wealthy (who like to take expensive trips when they are less crowded), and horrible for the rest of us. I'm sure that for some people, when they take vacation is irrelevant, but for people in positions of authority, the USA is basically closed from Christmas to New Years... because while businesses may be nominally open, everyone with school age children takes their vacation now, so everyone is on a skeleton crew. Nobody is entering into new business deals now, and everything is on hold until "after the holidays."

January, as a result, is the busiest month of the year, and an absolutely HORRIBLE time for the self employed to consider time off.

Lion of Zion said...

MARK:

"I work very long hours and the few days that I am off, I would like to be able to spend them with my children."

yes! this is my whole argument against sunday school.
we work hard during the week to pay tuition, but the schools don't accommodate families with 2 working parents and give off days left and right.
then comes sunday. those of us who don't get to see our kids that much during week would like to use sundays for family time, but no, all of a sudden the schools get dogmatic about bitul torah.

Anonymous said...

Mark, Al, Lion,
There are working parents who feel that they still spend a lot of time with their children...they are called working MOTHERS ... because 9 times out of 10, they are the ones rushing home early from work to deal with dinner, homework, bedtime stories, tantrums...while the husbands come home late, since they don't sacrifice their career progress, and give the little ones hugs and kisses and want to take them fun places on days off. Working women don't go fun places with the kids on their days off or on Sundays...that's when they catch up on chores around the house.

ProfK said...

What is becoming obvious from the discussion is that 1)no schedule for schools will be good for all parents in that school no matter how you tweak the days of attendance and 2)vacation days from school are going to "inconvenience" some parents no matter when those days come out on the calendar, no matter what the reason for that inconvenience.

Despite Navah's contention that you can get around the 180 day school year, it's not all that easy to do, nor is it advisable in most cases. There are many yeshivas whose educational offerings are already borderline as regards secular studies and whose students are already being undereducated; fooling around with the required number of days will only add to that. And relying on test taking to "prove" that these yeshivas are really educating the students? Teaching to the test is a realllly bad way to educate kids. We already have some boys high schools who aren't offering any secular courses during the senior year (and some awfully weak courses during other years) and who are, instead, offering a week or two of "cram" courses to pass certain of the Regents exams given that year. I see the results of those cram courses when students come into my classes in college, and it aint a pretty sight. If we are paying megabucks for a private yeshiva education then, at the very least, we ought to be getting a "real" education for those kids.

Al said...

Anon, speak for your own life, not others. My wife and I both work... she's a professional, works long hours, I'm an entrepreneur, work long hours.

We BUST ass to have lots of family time. Breakfast as a family every morning, dinner as a family every evening. Sunday we spend doing stuff as a family... we both work WAY TO HARD to not do fun stuff as a family, those are the memories that you carry with you for life.

Do we pay for cleaning, absolutely, is it hard to do chores late at night, or early in the morning, yeah, but it depends if you want you children to remember a warm and loving home with days in the park, or a cold place where the mom was always stressed out and dad wasn't home.

One of the reasons that I LOVE my wife working is that it let's me have some balance. We can both work a 50 hour week, instead of my working 80...

OTOH, my wife and I both have real educations that provide substantial incomes. And before anyone insists that if you aren't supper smart you can't earn big bucks, look around you... Nurses, ultrasound techs, plumbers, electricians, etc., all provide pathways to earning $60k+ year without requiring a 150 IQ...

It's all about priorities in life, and where you spend your time and money, and what's the emphasis. Budgets reflect your families values... if you think that you value nutrition, but don't buy fresh fruits and vegetables, you don't value nutrition.

anonymousmom said...

Interesting thread. I do find that many students are overscheduled in the summer. They are shipped off to camp for 8 weeks with no down time in sight. Making the school year longer (but with shorter days) may be a better option. I happen to like the idea of making the school the camp location and presenting a well-prepared, well-run day camp program. It gives teachers and parents more options. While some schools do this already, most MO schools do not. At the end of the day, though, you will have to keep in mind the following:
a. students will do no work on those Fridays. That is how it is for the students I know who are off on Fridays.
b. parents will have child-care fits
c. most schools do not run from pre-school through hs so you will run into conflicting schedules
d. many students are not "school kids" and find that environment extremely challenging. Let's face it. We all know many successful adults who did very poorly in school and suffered for it. They will show you their emotional scars if you ask. I worry about adding more school to a child's life. Parents often do not face what it means for their child to be in an environment for hours at a time that they find challenging. We can do what we can, we can be our best as educators and as schools, and--still--no one can change the fact that the traditional learning system does not work for everyone.

tesyaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tesyaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aml said...

I have to agree with Al here... DH and I both have high-demand careers, both love our jobs, and both are well compensated. While is isn't always easy, this notion that one partner has to sacrifice so that the other can excel is simply not (always) true (I can think of careers where it may be true, such as when one spouse is a physican constantly on call).

I think what makes us so successful is (1) we're both deeply invested in one another's careers and (2) we're very organized- about some things. We keep a very, very detailed family calendar, including work deadlines and midterms/finals (we're both in graduate school). This give us a good reference point so that, for example, if I have something big going on at work, DH can adjust his schedule and vise-versa. It isn't always 100%, but on the occasions when things are really busy, we're well prepared and can call in reinforcements (babysitter).

And Sundays are sacred for us. We try to do fun activities and try to reserve cleaning and shopping for other times (we do have a cleaning service once every other week). Is our house always spotless? Hardly. Could we spend less money on convienence food? Yes, if one of us stopped working or even took less demanding jobs. Are our kids happy? Yes. Are we happy? Yes, and tired. And I think because we are so busy, we try very, very hard to be very present in the moment with our kids.

Lion of Zion said...

AL:

"plumbers, electricians, etc., all provide pathways to earning $60k+ year"

$60k+? when was the last time you needed a plumber or electrician?

i wish i were handy enough to be a plumber

Anonymous said...

LOZ - yes! this is my whole argument against sunday school.
we work hard during the week to pay tuition, but the schools don't accommodate families with 2 working parents and give off days left and right.
then comes sunday. those of us who don't get to see our kids that much during week would like to use sundays for family time, but no, all of a sudden the schools get dogmatic about bitul torah.


It is definitely an excellent argument against having classes on Sunday. To make matters worse, most schools that have Sunday classes only teach limudei kodesh, so the remainder of the time is "wasted". And sometimes completely wasted. I went to MTA for High School and lived in the dormitory. There were a bunch of us and we would take a van to school every Sunday morning and then the van back home every Thursday evening. Sundays we would have limudei kodesh during the usual hours - from 8:45am to 1:45pm with a lunch break in between. Then, for those of us that dormed, Sunday afternoon was "free" until mincha, dinner, and then night seder at 7:30, followed by maariv, after which we were "free" again. In my experience, Sunday afternoons were the time when the troublemakers got in trouble, and even some of the "good kids" got into limited trouble.

Meanwhile, I was off Fridays, both my parents were at work, and my sisters and brother were at school. Voila, another opportunity for "free" high school kids to get in trouble. I was a reasonably good kid, so granted, I didn't get into trouble, but Fridays were so free, I rode around the whole neighborhood (and out of it) on my bicycle usually with a friend (one guy that was in school with me, and was my roommate), but sometimes alone. So, I saw my father beginning erev shabbat when he got home, but then everyone is very busy preparing for shabbat, then shabbat morning at shul (in my parents family, sons sit next to their father during shul). Then we would learn the parsha a little (Oh how I hated being forced to do that at the time, but realize now how great it was) after kiddush with my dads friends (a kiddush club of sorts, they would alternate houses every shabbat after shul). Then a walk in the afternoon to visit my grandparents and aunts and uncles. Then suddenly it was motzai shabbat and the mad rush began to pack up for the van ride early Sunday morning. And I think we were allowed to watch something on TV on motzai shabbat for an hour. Sunday morning I was off to school for the week.

I agree - school on Sunday is an extremely bad idea and perhaps even damaging to families. Of course, in Israel, they have school on Sundays and Fridays and seem to manage, but they also finish school each day by 1:30 or 2pm in most cases (I attended 6'th grade in Israel and it was great!)

ProfK - What is becoming obvious from the discussion is that 1)no schedule for schools will be good for all parents in that school no matter how you tweak the days of attendance and 2)vacation days from school are going to "inconvenience" some parents no matter when those days come out on the calendar, no matter what the reason for that inconvenience.

And in order to minimize the inconvenience, schools ought to schedule days off, first including all the general days off that the parents have. After all those days are accounted for, they can then schedule additional optional days as desired, also minimizing further inconvenience and within the usual 180 day rule. I think it is insane for schools to dafka schedule classes on days when almost all the parents are off.

LOZ - <<"plumbers, electricians, etc., all provide pathways to earning $60k+ year">>

$60k+? when was the last time you needed a plumber or electrician?

i wish i were handy enough to be a plumber


A certified plumber, electrician, etc earn substantially more than $60k a year for full-time work. So do nurses, my mom is a nurse - she went to college at the same time I did, and I know what she earns (and it is in the 6 figures). But nurses, plumbers, electricians, etc have a much different advantage - their jobs can't be outsourced to places overseas that are less expensive!

Everyone, have a great 5'th night of Chanukah - Chanukah sameach to all! We think the Chabad-mobile is coming to our street this evening, so we are going to let the kids stay up late.

Mark

Talmudita said...

I think it's extremely intriguing, but I wonder why we have a 5-day week now. Do you know about the historical reasons for that? I wonder with the invisible hand if that isn't the most efficient way already... Also I wonder about educationally maybe the 5 day week developed because that's the best way for children to learn. I wonder what has changed now that calls for innovation.

SephardiLady said...

Talmudita-I believe the school schedule formation in the US had to largely due with the needs of agricultural farming, which lent itself to a long summer. I'm trying to find out more about the 5 day part, bt I believe one day off of course has to do with the Christian Sabbath and I believe eventually certain districts expanded the week to include the Jewish Shabbat. Hence, 5 days.

The gas crisis of the 1970's made some schoosl go to a 4 day schedule and today the economic climate has school districts throughout the nation reconsidering the 5 day week.

For many years now there have been year round schools. My school district had one elementary school on that schedule. They tried to switch a high school over, but it didn't pan out well because of sports and students who supplemented their school schedule with college courses.

I will research more, but I don't think the schedules as we know them developed because of academic demands as much as social, religious, and economic demands. So I see no reason not to change a schedule if there is a demand.

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