It seems like educational systems in the US are always looking for new solutions to improve their effectiveness for students, and one of the newest trends in such a reform is a shorter school week. Instead of the traditional 5-day school week, many schools are beginning to make 4 days. In most cases, Mondays or Fridays are the days that are being cut. Many people blame high educational costs for the shortened school week, but before we would come up with a well-informed conclusion on what this program can offer, it is important to look at its pros and cons.
List of Pros of Implementing 4-Day School Weeks
1. It would allow for financial gain.
The current education system in the country is associated with very high costs, and having all school facilities open for only 4 days in a week can make a huge difference when it comes to savings in many aspects, including custodial pay, transportation, teacher pay, utility bills, food costs and other miscellaneous expenses. This reduction of costs will certainly have a huge impact on all school districts.
2. It can improve learning.
Recent studies show that learning capabilities of students who are enrolled in 4-day-week schools seemed to improve, which means that they seem to be focusing more on their studies and increasing their knowledge. As for the teachers, they also seemed to be focusing their lesson plans more on ensuring that most important subjects are being taught in the shorter classroom time and keeping students more on track, doing away with any subject or topic that are not essential. Even though only a slight improvement in performance was seen, the important thing is that a shortened school week does not negatively affect the learning abilities of students, which matters most.
3. It offers more free time.
Another big advantage of 4-day school weeks is that it allows children to have more free time on their hands pursue their interests and to be active. Typically, the traditional school week leave very little extra time for students, while shortened one allows for the academic calendar in the US to correlate with that of other countries. Having students to study in only 4 days a week would simply maximize their time in the classroom and will free up an extra whole day throughout the week.
4. It improves attendance.
Research performed on student attendance in 4-day week schools shows that attendance has improved as a result. The main reason for this is that many parents would schedule doctor’s appointments on off days, and students would simply improve their attendance when there are lesser days accounted for, which means that they would make out of their school schedule if school weeks are shortened. It seems that they would take advantage of the available days in the classroom and are less likely to be absent.
5. It promotes responsibility.
A shortened school week is a good way to instill a sense of responsibility for children to take their own actions. For instance, it teaches them the importance of budgeting their time wisely. While children dream of getting an additional day off from school every week, a shortened school week does not mean that they are receiving a day off from studying for upcoming exams and completing their homework.
List of Cons of Implementing 4-Day School Weeks
1. It requires longer school days.
Having students to fit 5 days’ worth of classroom time into 4 days would make for a tiring schedule, where many of the younger school children would find it very difficult to focus on their study for such long periods. The adjusted 4-day-week schedule would often be not always optimal for all grade levels.
2. It can cause lessened focus among students.
While some students can easily shift to the 4-day school week, as they are able to adapt to changes and appreciate the benefits, there are others who would learn differently and cannot often handle such a dramatic shift in the amount of time they are used to spending with their teachers. Critics of the shortened school week point to the fact that children who are at risk, especially those having learning difficulties may not be able to get the most out of the new program. As it might seem, 4-day school weeks would work best for children who are self-motivated and would not serve the needs of those who do not learn in the same manner. This means a lessened focus, which can cause grades to drop.
3. It negatively affects school meal programs.
Another concern involves schoolchildren who depend on discounted school meals. Shortened school weeks would leave some children with an extra day when they will not get to enjoy decent meals.
4. It means higher costs for parents.
Though school districts can save money with 4-day school weeks, it is the other way around for many parents. Most of them who have young students will be coerced to pay for daycare for a day that children may not have if the school schedule was still 5 days.
5. It can bring about some child care concerns.
These days, most families either have 2 working parents or divorced ones sharing custody of their children, and switching to a shortened school week could increase the need for parents to spend their hard-earned money on childcare services during the week. While supporters of 4-day school weeks tout the virtues of rotating the day off on a weekly basis for increased flexibility, this is not a good solution for parents who are working.
Proponents and opponents of 4-day school weeks each have good points. Simply removing a single day from the traditional school week can certainly have ramifications that might have never been thought of before. However, before we form our individual opinions about the 4-day school week, it is important to take a closer look at both side of the coin to come up with a wise decision about this matter.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.