Parents and teachers in Oklahoma school districts with four-day weeks gathered at the state capitol Monday to ask lawmakers not to adopt rules they say would effectively end abbreviated school weeks.
Of Oklahoma’s more than 500 school districts, about 100 go to school only four days a week. The practice has exploded in recent years because of a change in how the state measures school years, saying students need to be in class for 1,080 hours rather than 180 days each year.
In four-day districts, the school days are longer and district leaders say the shortened weeks are a valuable tool in attracting and retaining teachers in the midst of a statewide educator shortage.
But new rules enacted because of a 2019 law would effectively end the practice by setting standards for schools to offer shorter weeks.
Noble School Board member Erika Buzzard Wright said that if these rules go into effect as written it will be detrimental for rural Oklahoma schools.
"If our four-day districts—and there will be some—that if they are forced to go back to five days, they will have to shut their doors," said Buzzard Wright.
The public comment period about the rules change ends Monday and the rules will be approved by the State Board of Education and given to the legislature before the session starts in February.