For every child that has gone to school k-12, we always dreaded the 5-day school week, felt like we were being held in a prison sentence and there was no possible way of getting out. I don’t know about anyone else but I personally can say I always wondered what it would be like to go to school for only 4 days a week. But if we decided to go with that, a more difficult question would have to be answered, do we want a Monday or Friday off? Do we want to get to the weekend quicker, or do we want to make it feel like a little longer? But are school districts going to cut down on the amount of days without knowing there might be a possible benefit. If schools cut the week to four days, are the performance of the students going to go up also? This is a question that a lot of districts are starting to think about, and even experimenting with today.
More and more schools that seem to be on the western part of the United States are attempting to adopt the 4-day week and ultimately judging whether there any positives as a result. Some teachers have begun to speak about some of the benefits for them about only teaching for 4 days. It gives them more flexibility with their personal lives, but more important on the Fridays, they are able to design far better lesson plans then they could ever before. A lot of them found themselves working on the weekends to try to come up with plans for the following week, but could really never find the motivation to do so. With the possibility of not having classes on Friday, they could use this time to effective produce lesson plans, mostly because they are still in the working mindset from the prior days.
In addition, with the kids being in school per day much longer because of the shortened week, they are able to take advantage of being in each class a little longer. Have you ever been in a science class where you are working on a lab, but unfortunately you run out of time and don’t get to finish? This happens to everyone and by the time you return for the next class, there is a good chance that you have forgotten a portion of what you learned. Because of this now you have to go out of your way to relearn everything, when that extra time could be used towards learning a new topic. This slows down the education process and could possibly be one of the reasons for lower test scores. Teachers say that personally they have seen a lot of positives that have come from this, like attendance and students overall being more focused during the class. As of right now, roughly 40 percent of the states have at least one school that has adopted a 4 day. Researchers from Montana State University decided the study the results of changing to a 4-day week and see if there any impacts to the academic performance (See Study Results Here). The results of increased performance didn’t seem to surprise me because all the benefits that come along with changing to a 4-day week.
So once the performance goes up and stays consistent, you would think that it would stay like that? But despite this popular belief, that might not be the case as shown by results of schools in Montana, where initially there was as spike in grades but then a drop off. Why might this be the case? Personally I believe this might be because kids are slowly getting used to the new system, and once it becomes second nature, it starts to feel like 5-day weeks. They maybe go back to their old habits, and aren’t as productive as they were once.
So in the big picture, is switching to a 4-day really worth the time? If you think about it, at first the initial results show a benefit, but over time they start to return to its old fashion. They need to decide if it’s really worth the transition over if it won’t have a positive impact in the long term.
http://neatoday.org/2016/01/14/four-day-school-week-pro-con/ ( For Picture also)