Nightly News | August 31, 2011
>>> in our education nation report tonight, this idea of a four- day school week. on the face of it, it makes you wonder how this could be better for our kids, how it could help close the gap we need to close around the world or how it could be good for parent who is suddenly learn their child is now going to be home on a weekday they have usually spent at school. but it's already a reality in some places, four- day school weeks are now in effect in several states. our report from nbc's lee cowan.
>> it's about to roll through some school districts here just as thick as the fog.
>> are you all ready for school?
>> reporter: for the first time, students will attends school four days a week not five. it joins more than 120 other school districts all across the country that have already gone to the shorter week. they did it to cut costs, but the superintendent says economics is not the reason here.
>> this had to be motivated by a deep concern for student learning.
>> reporter: the number of hours in class won't change, just four longer days, kids will have fridays off but teacher also still have to come in to plan.
>> is it more about student development or teacher development?
>> you can't have one without the other.
>> reporter: it still stands in the shadow of a dark economy, the tax base continues to shrink and some parents fear that the four- day school week is the price their kids will pay.
>> it seems to me like it was a budg budgetary decision.
>> we'll probably get some work done during that period, but it's going to be so much at one time.
>> reporter: but the biggest worry at this meeting was still financial. and offering friday programs for those who can't afford child care , but for some it wasn't enough.
>> this is a glorified baby sitting operation if you ask me.
>> don went to the four- day school week two years ago and loved it.
>> less really isn't less, it's just taken what's happened on a five-day and putting it into four.
>> he says test scores went up, so did attendance and morale, even he was shocked at first.
>> it's a paradox, less is more.
>> experts were split on the issue, say there's not enough issues to see if it helps or harms. for the pirates, shortened school week is uncharted waters , but the place that's used to finding their way in the fog is the direction to be explored.