Should 4 Dollar Gas=4 Day Work Week?

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school-bus-170.jpgSchool districts across the country, reacting to wicked high gas prices, are shifting to four-day work weeks—and in some cases asking kids to walk a little farther to catch the bus.

While the potential benefits of having kids walk a bit more are intriguing, is it really possible to cram five days of student learning into four?

No matter. The rising cost ($4 a gallon and rising) of running those big yellow diesel school buses is too much for some rural districts, like this one outside St. Paul, Minnesota, which said a month ago it would save about $65,000 by switching to a four-day week.

A North Carolina school district told reporters it would save $500 to $800 a day by chopping one day off the school week.

And it’s not just schools. Even folks at a state attorney’s office in McHenry County, Illinois, are getting in on the action: they’ve gone to a 40-hour, four-day work week, as have members of the Suffolk County legislature in New York; although in some cases reaction to these decisions isn’t always positive.

South Carolina’s governor signed into law $19 million for school bus fuel for the 2008-09 school year. Some Houston school employees are even getting $250 bonuses to help with commuting costs.

Some argue the personal (happier employees!) and economic/environmental benefits are worth it. Others maintain, simply, that this “half-day crap must stop”.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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