French parents are up in arms against a new initiative to make Wednesday a school day.
Students in France traditionally have no school on Wednesdays, a vestige from the 19th century when students were expected to study catechism once a week, the Los Angeles Times reports. The four school days remaining are extra-long to make up for lost teaching time, but even with the longer hours French students are still falling behind their international competition. So the education minister of Francois Hollande’s unpopular government has announced that French schools will be open on Wednesdays, a decision which has been met by outrage by parents and teachers alike.
Parents argue that the new schedule is too stressful for kids, that it interrupts musical lessons and other extracurricular activities scheduled on Wednesdays and cuts into Tuesday-night leisure time.
The government insists that a full five-day school week is the only way for France to stop sliding down the list of international education rankings. Officials also say that the extra-long school days are bad for struggling students, and widen the inequalities between privileged students and those with less support at home.
A quarter of French primary schools have already adjusted to the new schedule, and the rest will start next year.