Saturday, June 03, 2017

Open thread for night owls: In Oklahoma, a four day school week leaves some children hungry (hunter) · Sunday, May 28, 2017, 10:31 pm

American public schools are, first and foremost, our means of education. For those families that live below the poverty line, however, they can also be an all-too-necessary source of food.

Oklahoma's deep education cuts have resulted in many districts moving to a four-day school week. For some of the state's children, that means another day of going hungry.

[E]ven kids are not unanimous. Chad Marble said his second-grader, Emerson, comes home complaining that school is too rushed. And some children are sensitive to the fact that the four-day week means extra stress for working families that struggle to find day care and poor children who depend on school for meals.
“It’s good and bad,” one Newcastle fourth-grader said. “The good part is we have more time with our families, and the bad part is some people don’t get to eat.”

Newcastle has arranged for low-cost child care on Fridays — $30 per child per week — and the town has a low poverty rate by Oklahoma standards. Only about one-third of students qualify for free- and reduced-price lunch. A food bank sends extra food home with hungry students to tide them over during long weekends, but teachers say few ask for that help. [...]

Macomb, a tiny rural district where 88 percent of students qualify for subsidized meals, was on four-day weeks until Superintendent Matthew Riggs persuaded the school board in 2015 to return to a traditional schedule.

Riggs said he could not “in good conscience” continue the four-day weeks — not when his students were already struggling in math and reading, and not when some were going hungry.


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