School districts sue Gov. over 5-day week mandate

Local control vs. centralized control is one of the most critical issues in American government. It is the justification for the US Constitution and efforts to centralize control often have resulted in politicians ignoring local control in order to accumulate more power. The case of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s push to force districts to adopt 5-day school weeks is only the latest example in this battle and notably, Lujan Grisham has NOT received support for her 5-day school week mandate from the Legislature. In fact, the Legislature explicitly rejected her plan during the 2024 session. 

But, MLG went ahead with the 5-day mandate and now she is being sued by 53 of the State’s 89 “real” school districts (some charter schools are organized as “districts”). From a legal perspective this will be an interesting case to watch, but the political impact is what we’re watching:

  1. The Gov. touts the supposed impact of her proposal on outcomes, but with no evidence that forcing 5-day weeks improves outcomes;
  2. The education bureaucracy is populated by people and groups (school officials and unions) that tend to be on her side politically. 4-day weeks are popular with nearly everyone involved, so it is hard to see why THIS is the hill to die on.
  3. There is no political constituency for forcing 5-day school weeks on unwilling districts. This seems like just another way MLG is attempting to flex her political power.