Shortening the school week: Benefits of a longer week

With the amount of stress that comes from a full five-day week, students and faculty can be greatly overwhelmed. From faculty having too many papers to even begin, and students never feeling like they have time for anything but school, a mental health day is needed for everyone, even parents.

According to NCSL, National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2019, more than half of the districts in Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon implemented the four-day week, and the outcomes were successful. Ever since, many other states have begun to use it as well.

The benefits of the four-day week outweigh the drawbacks.The states that implement the four-day week will allow their students to balance their focus between school and extracurriculars.

While some may argue a four-day school week limits a student's ability to maximize their learning, schools that have adopted the four-day week offer additional help on the fifth day. The additional day can allow schools to utilize their resources in the most efficient way for students. Students really needing more help, can do so in a more quiet environment with less distractions.

“Half of all states in the United States have at least one district on a four-day schedule, and about 550 districts nationwide are using the schedule,” Georgia Hayward from CRPE, a company that “reinvents public education” in 2018 said.

Graphic by Abby Robinson

So far, this change can be seen as mainly an accommodation for rural communities. They are more commonly known to have a four-day week because of the costly difference between rural and suburban schools. Schools in the suburbs have a shorter transportation time and a larger population, whereas more rural districts struggle with those factors.

“The four-day week is still mostly found in small, rural, remote areas. These are precisely the types of school systems that tend to have high rates of poverty, few curricular offerings, and low post-secondary attendance rates,” Heyward said from CRPE, a reinventing public education program.

Although, in the suburbs, having a four-day week can be a convenience for the cost effects. With the 2020 levy occuring right now, the Olentangy District needs more money so they aren’t at risk for cutting extra-curriculars. However, if the district were to consider a four-day week, a levy might not even be needed once you take out the costs of another day at school. There wouldn’t be extra transportation needed, one less day of lunch and costs that go into preparing lunch, along with many other factors.

“In Duval County School District in Jacksonville, Florida, moving to a four-day week produced only a paltry-sounding 0.7 percent savings. But that figure translated to a budget reduction of $7 million,” teacher Elizabeth Mulvahill, a writer, teacher and traveler said.

Mostly teachers are making the argument of a shorter week for students but students have a voice too. Whether that means sharing an idea with a teacher or asking to speak with a superintendent. A four-day school week can benefit students, faculty, and the district itself all in individual ways.


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