Breaking Away from the Normal
“In order to see improvement, one must be willing to change their routine.” Coach Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats said it best. Far too often we got caught up in trying to follow the majority. In the United States, the standard week for public schools is five days. Is this method the most effective way to learn? No.
The purpose of school is to formally educate the world’s youth so they can create a beautiful future for all. Is it not? Studies show that a five-day school week may not be the most effective way of educating young adults, but in fact that a four-day school week is the better option. Public schools should adopt a four-day school week as it would lead to better grades and test scores. Schools who have adopted a four day school week have seen an increase in math and reading test scores among students and an increase in teacher productivity. Schools who changed from the normal five day week, saw a noticeable difference in their reading and math test scores, whereas schools who made no change, did not. Studies performed at Georgia State University and Montana State University report, “Overall, schools that moved to a four-day week started out with lower average scores than the control schools, but saw a significant increase in the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or “advanced” on both reading and math tests after they switched to the four-day week compared with the control schools” (Zubrzycki).
It was also evident in schools that switched to a shorter week that student and teacher production increased. Dr. Mary Beth Walker of Georgia State University says, “They (teachers) were so enthusiastic about the four-day week-they did a better job. There’s some evidence in other labor studies that four-day work weeks enhance productivity” (Schouten). Getting the most out of teachers and students sounds like a superb situation.
Also, students love the idea of a four-day week. When asked about the possibility of the switch, seventh grader Derick Prentice confirms he and his friends “would love it” (4-day school). A study performed by Professor Mark Anderson of Montana State University found that students who had shorter weeks had an academic advantage over students who had five-day weeks. “Students were more likely to score “proficient” or “advanced” in math after changing to the four-day week” (Heitin). Higher test scores, better teaching and student productivity, and academic advantages can all be obtained by a switch to a four-day school week.
A four-day school week proves advantageous for students and teachers when it comes to learning and teaching. Students will discover what they are capable of academically if given the opportunity to learn in a different and more efficient manner. They can improve their grades and their attitudes towards school. Students and teachers alike want the best out of themselves, and in order to ensure this, the change from a five-day to a four-day school week is relevant and necessary. Although research indicates a four-day week can be drastically beneficial to students and teachers, many worry there may not be enough time to accomplish as much academically as the five-day week. Actually, the five-day week clearly provides more days in school to allow students and teachers to achieve their academic goals; however, according to Dr.
Mary Beth Walker of Georgia State University, the shorter week “enhances productivity,” and students are given an extra day to study and reinforce what they learn in school (Schouten). It makes sense; students are willing to work harder for a shorter time as opposed to being mentally worn down by the longevity of a traditional school week. The evidence shows students can benefit both academically and mentally from the change to a four-day week. As a society we need to move away from the exhausted methods of schooling and shift towards a more efficient, effective way to learn.