The four-day school is a craze that has swept the United States. This was a fringe schooling schedule only practiced by rural school districts when I was a teacher many moons ago. Why did they change to four-day school weeks? It was a response to shrinking education budgets and the belief that schools could save a lot of money by operating Monday through Thursday, which would reduce their operating expenses. So, what are the benefits and drawbacks of four-day school weeks? I’m glad you inquired. This question will be thoroughly examined in this article.
Pros of the 4-day School Week
Schedules for teachers are more flexible as a result. Educators report that the four-day workweek allows them to get more done. This increased flexibility is why they are such ardent supporters of the four-day school week.
Savings are made by school districts. To compensate for the time lost on the traditional fifth day, the district adds 40 or so minutes to the 4-day school week schedule. Some school districts have reported saving over a million dollars on utilities, transportation, and labor costs.
It improves learner attendance. Rural areas report that learner attendance has increased since the transition to a four-day school week. Because many of the families in these areas own farms, it allows them to work more efficiently during the week. As a consequence, a student is not required to miss class to assist.
It is easier to find employees. 4-day school weeks give educators more flexibility in their schedules, making their jobs more manageable in a variety of ways. As a result, school districts have an easier time attracting qualified applicants.
Cons of the 4-Day School Week
Academic performance for vulnerable groups may suffer. Students who are low-income, minority, or have special needs do not fare well academically in this configuration, according to research. At first, at any rate. It takes schools about four years to get these students back on track in that department. In my perspective, this is a significant drawback, as sacrificing the futures of our most vulnerable students is not worth the insignificant benefits of four-day school weeks.
It may assist school districts in saving money. The Oklahoma Department of Education studied the economic impact of implementing a four-day week in 16 school districts. What they discovered surprised them. They discovered that while seven school districts saved money as a result of the new configuration, nine districts actually spent more.
There is a chance that juvenile crime will rise. Juvenile crime increased by 73 percent in Colorado when a school switched from a 5-day week to a 4-day week. These crimes occurred all week long, not just on weekdays when students were not in school.
A four-day school week is deceptive. Many school districts believe that cutting operational costs on the fifth day will save them a lot of money, but they forget that they will still be open and running activities on those days off. Administrative staff must be present, sports teams may need to practice, professional development sessions may be held, and so on. Furthermore, because special populations fare poorly in this configuration, the costs of rehabilitating them begin to eat into the budget.
Do 4-day school weeks positively affect learner outcomes
As you can see, there are a lot of advantages and drawbacks to a four-day school week, but The verdict on their long-term impact is still out on academic outcomes. Several studies have found that a four-day school week improves learner outcomes in math and reading. Researchers have found no significant difference in overall academic achievement between four-day and five-day districts. Furthermore, studies have found that under this configuration, special populations do not thrive academically. We simply don’t have enough time, data, or research to make a definitive statement because the four-day school week has only been in place for about a decade or so.