The idea of a 4-day school week is not a new one, but rather an old idea that’s gaining traction lately. Some districts and individual schools have run pilot programs to see the effects of a 4-day school week. Part of the decision stems from the hopes of increasing attendance rates and also as an effort to save money. No matter what the motivation is, there are pros and cons to a 4-day school week. Here are some of the implications of shaving a day off the traditional model.
Improves attendance – Going down to a 4-day week has been proven to increase attendance. Less students are skipping school because they are receiving an extra day to themselves each week. Additionally, with the extra day off, parents are less likely to pull their children from school to go to doctor appointments.
Encourages responsibility – A shorter week does not mean less work. There is more expected of students and a 4-day week encourages an increase in personal responsibility. Students must also think more seriously about their understanding of a subject. If it is Wednesday, for instance, and there is only one more class period before a big test, students must prioritize their time to get their questions answered before the week comes to a close.
Opens up time for interest based learning – With the additional day out of the classroom, students are free to pursue interest based learning. This may result in a part-time job, taking up a new hobby, or shadowing a professional. No matter path of interest based learning a student decides to follow, they now have more time to devote to it.
Longer school days – A 4-day school week means longer school days. The same amount of information needs to be taught, but with one less day a week. This can put a lot of stress on teachers and students. Younger students especially, may have a difficult time with staying focused and engaged for a longer day than what they have grown accustomed to.
Raises childcare concerns – For younger students again, 4-day school weeks are not ideal. One less day in the classroom means that parents need to find consistent childcare for that extra day while they are at work.
Costs parents – Piggybacking off of the childcare concerns, a shorter week unloads a financial burden onto the parents. They now are responsible for childcare, lunches, and transportation on a day they have to work. If childcare cannot be secured, parents may be forced to change their schedules and, in turn, earn less money.