It seems as though school systems are always looking for new ways to improve the effectiveness of the school day for students. One of the newest trends in school system reform is a shorter school week. Instead of the traditional school schedule for five days a week, many schools are starting to adopt a 4 day school week. In most cases, Mondays or Fridays are the traditional school days that are most often cut. Many are blaming the high costs of education for the shortened 4 day school week. Before you come to a conclusion on what a 4 day school week can offer, it is important to be informed on all aspects.
List of Pros of 4 Day School Weeks
1. Financial Gain
There are very high costs associated with the current education system. Having all school facilities open for only 4 days a week instead of 5 days can make a huge difference in savings. The costs that can be reduced by having a 4 day school week ranges from transportation, custodial pay, teacher pay, food costs, utility bills and so any other miscellaneous expenses. The financial benefits from having shortened school weeks can have a huge impact on just about every school district.
Research performed on the attendance of students enrolled in schools that have a 4 day week shows that attendance is improved as a result. This is due to the fact that many parents will schedules doctor’s appointments on off days and students simply improve their attendance when there are less days that are accounted for. This means that many students make the most out of their school schedule if the week is shortened. They seem to take advantage of the days that are available in the classroom and are less likely to be absent.
3. Improved Learning
This might seem like a stretch, but recent studies even prove that the learning capabilities of students enrolled in schools with a 4 day week seem to be improved. This means that students seem to be focusing more in the classroom and increasing the amount of knowledge that is retained. Teachers seem to be focusing their lesson plans more to ensure that the most important subjects are taught in the shorter classroom time. This keeps students more on track and does away with any topics or subjects that are not integral. Even if only a slight improvement in academic performance is seen, the fact is that a 4 day school week does not have a negative impact on the learning abilities of students. This is by far what matters the most and it seems to be that a 4 day school week does not hinder academic performance in any way.
Another pro of a 4 day school week is that children do a have a little more free time on their hands to be active and make time for their interests. Typical school weeks leave very little extra time for students, but with a shortened school week this allows for the academic calendar in this country to correlate with that of other countries. Having students go to school only four days a week simply maximizes the time in the classroom and frees up an extra day throughout the week.
List of Cons of 4 Day School Weeks
1. Higher Costs for Parents
Even though many school districts get to save money with a shortened school week, this adds to the costs for many parents. Most parents of young students will be forced to pay for child daycare for a day throughout the week that they might not have if the school schedule was still 5 days.
2. School Meal Programs
Another concern involves those students that depend on discounted school breakfasts and lunches. If the school week is only 4 days, this will leave some children with an extra day that they will not have proper meals. This is a con that effects a high number of students and is an issue that should get attention.
3. Longer School Days
Having students fit 5 days’ worth of classroom time into 4 days can make for a tiring schedule. Many of the younger students might find it very difficult to concentrate for such long periods of time. This adjusted 4 day week schedule is not always optimal for all grade levels.
Modular School Schedules a Thing of the Past
Modular schedules of five day school weeks with seven classes all 50 minutes in length are no longer the norm. In the past, modular school schedules of 5 day school weeks were the way that the education system functioned as a whole, but this is no longer the case. Now more and more schools are adopting block scheduling and even shortening the school week. Block scheduling cuts back on the total number of classes that students have each day and simply makes each class longer in length. In some cases 4 day school weeks are done in combination with block scheduling, but this is not always the case.
Why Does it Matter?
Four day school weeks are quickly becoming the topic of debate among those that are concerned with the overall education of the youth. Determining if 4 day school weeks are best for students requires many different factors to be accounted for. The fact is that the pros and cons of 4 day school weeks need to be fully understood before an informed opinion can be formed. Even though the rising costs of education are continuing to go up, the full consequence of a shortened school week needs to be learned before long-term advantages or disadvantages can be assumed.
Many school systems that are adopting the 4 day school week are still giving students the same amount of time in the classroom. The only difference is that the time from the fifth day is divided among the 4 days in the classroom and students simply stay longer throughout the week. This means that no time in the classroom is lost.
Those that are for and against 4 day school weeks each have good points. There are both good and bad aspects associated with shortened school weeks. Simply removing one day from the typical school week can have ramifications that you might never have thought of before. Cutting the school week by one day is a drastic move and if you add up the amount of time lost in the classroom for an entire year this is a substantial change. Before you form your own opinion about the shortened school week, it is important to take a closer look at both the pros and cons of a 4 day school week.