Benefits and Risks of Four-Day School Weeks
Approximately 120 school districts spread throughout 17 states have transitioned into a four-day school week due to economic hardships, according to the Education Commission of the States (ECS). According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), the programs are mainly used in small rural districts. A maximum of 5.43 % of savings may seem insignificant, but this increase in savings is cause enough for school districts to make the schedule adjustment. The concept of a four-day week is not new to United State’s school districts, according to the Center for Education Policy, University of Southern Maine.
They also claim that the interest in the idea has increased recently. Many states have accepted the policy, but haven’t acted upon it, according to NCSL. There are multiple plans of implementation of four-day weeks according to the Center for Education Policy, University of Southern Maine. One plan includes only having four-day weeks during the winter months in order to save on energy costs. Although the main plan includes having four-day weeks all year long with slightly longer class periods in order to compensate. However, there has been debate regarding the benefits.
“A four-day school week may provide a savings by reducing transportation, heating, and staff costs,” says the National Conference of State Legislature. They also claim that education experts fear the regression of academic concepts and less opportunities regarding elective courses. Others argue it has caused an increase in attendance and morale. As stated by the Center for Education Policy, University of Southern Maine a study was done in the rural districts of Colorado in 1984 in order to find information on the academic achievement of students while operating under a four-day schedule. Researchers recorded and analyzed students’ grades over four years and it presented with no notable test score impact. Arrowhead sophomore, Ethan Fenske, says, “I think that if students knew that they had to focus only on school for four days out of the week and could have three days of free time, then focus would go up.” He also says a four-day week would be beneficial because students could get their homework done and have time to relax before the process started over again. Brianna Fiene, an AHS sophomore, also agrees by saying, “It would be nice because it would allow us to get more sleep.”