Four-Day School Weeks: Pro or Con?

January 20, 2012 • Carly Saber (Pro) Chika Ojukwu (Con), Staff Writers  
Filed under Opinion/Editorial, Top Stories

PRO

A four-day school week is something that would greatly benefit students. With shorter weeks class days would have to be longer in order to keep up with the required learning hours per week given by the state. However, this would keep teachers from having to rush through their assignments and lessons because class periods would be longer. More students would be able to ask questions and the teachers could give more detailed explanations.

As well as the benefit of longer class periods, a school practicing this four-day week have found that drop out rates have decreased and so has the number of absent students. By having a third day added to the weekend, students feel more refreshed to come back to school and feel the school to weekend ratio much more balanced. With all of the positivity, students pay more attention in class. Many thought that with fewer days at school test scores would drop, however it was shown that student’s grades did not drop, and some even rose.

With that third day, students can also manage their extracurricular activities better. More students felt inclined to join more organizations because they feel like the will not be overwhelmed. By joining more activities, the students are able to broaden their horizons and become more well-rounded.

Some of the schools who have implemented this schedule use the fifth day to have teacher meetings and training days. These help keep the staff on the same page and the teachers are able to educate more efficiently during the week.

Not only are there an abundance of benefits for students, but the districts also save money. Even though students are going to school for the same amount of time as a five-day school week, the four-day school week allows the school to close an extra day, which saves transportation, heating, and power fees. With the saved money, the school can provide better accommodations and teaching equipment, or hire better teachers who require more pay. Also, schools could save money on hiring substitute teachers, because full-time teachers would no longer have to take days off from work for doctor appointments, vacations and other out-of-school issues.

Though some are more skeptical about the idea it is clear that the number of pros is incredibly high and would be an incredible improvement to our schools today.

CON

It is no hidden fact that school brings stress. Many would jump at the opportunity to have a condensed school week if possible. Talk of switching from a traditional five-day school week to a four-day school week has been circulating around the country, much to the pleasure of weary students. An abbreviated week sounds great, but is it really going to help us or hurt us?

Supporters of a shorter week state that the benefits include saving district money from operating costs and ameliorating the problems of teacher layoffs, but they fail to acknowledge the cons, which outnumber the pros. One problem that stems from brief school weeks is the decreased teaching and learning time in the classroom. Teachers will inevitably be forced to pack tons of learning material into a four-day week, and as a result, students will have to learn at a much faster pace. Also, the longer weekend may result in students completely forgetting the topics they have learned. Ultimately, this will result in lowered testing scores and will negatively affect student’s grades. Additionally, in order to make up for a missed day of school, the day is expected to be prolonged. Will students be able to sit attentively for a longer duration of time? Again, this ties in the concern that due to a shorter week, a student’s ability to perform well in school will begin to deteriorate. One other crucial downfall that is derived from a shorter week is that there will be less time for extracurricular activities due to a longer school day. The time one would normally devote to sports and clubs would be limited — cutting off integral parts of a student’s free time.

Along with diminishing school performance, another fault that stems from a condensed school week is limited child care. With parents working a five-day week might be necessary for both parent and child.

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