Students on balance need more time for learning. Chester Finn’s recent piece in the Wall Street Journal lays out the basic case around this.

Meanwhile, school districts everywhere are looking at giving students less, not more, learning time as they consider shortening the school year for budget reasons. According to this NPR report, 100 schools in 17 states use a four-day model and many more are looking at an abbreviated week. The Los Angeles Unified School District is cutting a week from the school year. Rural schools, as is often the case, are disproportionately affected. And the red ink isn’t likely to stop anytime soon as this report out of AEI makes clear.

This is madness. Especially because there is a solution: online learning.

For more about how online learning can help students still have time learning and help with the needed budget cuts, check out the Alliance for Excellent Education’s great report here, and I also recommend again Cathy Cavanaugh’s report about more learning time online.

Indeed, if schools need to cut back on the physical days in class to save dollars on building and transportation costs, there is no reason the learning has to stop, too. Why not have students come in for some days into class and other days learn online? It’s unclear from this article, but it seems that that is exactly what Grand Rapids school district may be doing as it sets up this new model.

Let’s stop the madness.


  • Michael B. Horn
    Michael B. Horn

    Michael B. Horn is Co-Founder, Distinguished Fellow, and Chairman at the Christensen Institute.