Your typical school week: Monday-Friday with the hours sometime between 7 am- 4 pm. But slowly over the nation, schools are switching to a four day school week. Class runs Monday- Thursday with an added 40-60 minutes each day to compensate for the lost time by not having the schools run on Fridays. Sometimes even starting school earlier in the school year, or keeping kids a few days later in the spring to again, make up for the lost time.
At first, this may not seem worth it. In the end, the time spent at school is the same, just spread differently. So what are the pros and cons?
Schools that have shortened to four days saw an increase in student attendance.
Utility bills were less, as well as a decrease in labor costs and bus expenses.
Teachers are less stressed and happier because they have an extra day for their weekend.
The fifth day of the week can be used for tutoring, school activities, and collaboration between teachers and peers, still leaving Saturday for free time, instead of taking up the entire weekend.
Students who are special needs or behind academically had a harder transition to the shorter week.
Juvenile crime rates went up significantly.
Longer days of school can be harder on the students, especially the younger grades.
Childcare expenses can become a problem for working parents.
The research is scattered for four day school weeks, a study in one state shows thousands of dollars saved, with reading and math scores going up, while another school shows no money saved and test scores dropping for a few years before they start to rise again.
One thing that does seem fairly consistent in the research is the first five or so years of adapting to the new schedule for schools with negative side effects before seeing improvement in the later years. This alone is a big reason districts are hesitant to change. But overall, will the change improve long-term results? Is it worth it at the cost of potentially putting students through a few hard years? Some are saying no, others are saying yes.
What side of the fence are you on? What other pros and cons do you see?