Dreaming of a four day school week
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Would you rather have 144 days of school or 180? What would you do with the extra 36 days?
These are questions worth considering because more than 100 school districts across the country have adopted an academic schedule that only has four days of school per week.
Educating young students across America is time consuming and costly. Public education requires communities to support these academic institutions to the best of their ability. While the five-day school week remains the norm, a four-day week is gaining more attention and has some appealing features.
Some schools in the 1970s and 1980s began operating on a four day week during the gas crisis in order to save money on transporting students. One fewer day each week also meant that schools heating and/or air conditioning costs could be reduced. In addition, some personnel – such as maintenance crews, would only need to be paid for four days.
More recently, several western states have adopted the shorter schedule. For example, more than half of the school districts in Colorado and forty percent of those in New Mexico have adopted the system. Research done at Georgia State University and posted on its NEWS HUB, and the Colorado Student Assessment Program, indicates test scores have improved among students at these schools.
That would seem to make sense, as students could use the extra day in order to get homework done, and teachers would have additional time for lesson plans.
An extra day added to the weekend could improve many things, however some parents may see a problem. Parents likely enjoy having their children away from home allowing them to blow off energy. Also, parents look forward to having their children in school so they can eat or be supervised while they are at work. Schools usually have a lunch hour, but many also serve breakfast which is two meals students could be missing out on. A four day week can be appealing, but if it were to become permanent these issues would need to be resolved.
Shortening the week to four days definitely merits consideration. It definitely could save schools money, and allow both students and teachers additional rest. However, the related issues of child care for these students on the fifth day could create an obstacle for many parents.
Still, with this idea gaining popularity, it may be time for more schools to look at the four-day week.
Kristian Rokita grew up on the South Side in the Bridgeport neighborhood with two older brothers, Matt and Nick. Playing multiple sports including hockey,...