Literary Discussion: Four of Five Day School Week?

Vivian Chan, 12th Grader I 10/10/18

 
 
 

  Do you really believe that having four days in school is better than having five days? I strongly believe that this issue can be debated and can have many advantages and disadvantages. To find a middle ground between education achievement and affordability is something that may never be attained. However my main focus is to make sure all students acquire valuable education and are able to meet the standards by the end of the year. Therefore, I choose five days because the school workload will be reasonably distributed among five days rather than compressed in four days, and it will give us more time to do our own extracurricular activities, after-school programs, and childcare.

     Choosing five days rather than four days makes more sense although the idea of changing to a four day school week may look very attractive to both students and teachers. In five days, teachers barely have enough time to cover all the materials needed before the end of the year. They don't have to stay in school for longer hours so that the week is shortened by one day. Switching to a four-day school week, foces the school to lengthen each school day by more than 90 minutes in order to provide an equivalent number of instructional hours. As a result, many kids will definitely "zone out" by the end of the day and not learn anything. It is hard for many kids, especially young ones, to sit attentively in a classroom for such a long duration of time. In addition, in a traditional five day school week, kids don't have to work on extra packets during weekends and holidays. However, in a four day school week, the students will have to complete more homework on weekends and holidays. The kids will get too little sleep every day because of the extended school day and homework. Overall, it seems that a four day school week create more challenges than benefits for everyone.

     Do you really believe that having four days in school is better than having five days? I strongly believe that this issue can be debated and can have many advantages and disadvantages. To find a middle ground between education achievement and affordability is something that may never be attained. However my main focus is to make sure all students acquire valuable education and are able to meet the standards by the end of the year. Therefore, I choose five days because the school workload will be reasonably distributed among five days rather than compressed in four days, the extracurricular activities and after-school programs, and childcare.

     Choosing five days rather than four days makes more sense although the idea of changing to a four day school week may look very attractive to both students and teachers. In five days, teachers barely have enough time to cover all the materials needed before the end of the year. They don't have to stay in school for longer hours so that the week is shortened by one day. According to ceep.indiana.edu, districts, switching to a four-day school week, have to lengthen each school day by more than 90 minutes in order to provide an equivalent number of instructional hours. As a result, many kids will definitely "zone out" by the end of the day and not learn anything. It is hard for many kids, especially young ones, to sit attentively in a classroom for such a long duration. In addition, in a traditional five day school week, kids don't have to work on extra packets during weekends and holidays. However, in a four day school week, the students will have to complete more homework on weekends and holidays. The kids will get too little sleep every day because of the extended school day and homework. Overall, it seems that a four day school week create more challenges than benefits for everyone.

     In addition, I firmly believe that the change from a five day to a four day school week will have a negative impact on learning and extracurricular activities. School districts will have to cut many extracurricular activities, such as music, art, drama, field trips, as well as Physical Education. Teachers can barely find enough time to schedule the above mentioned activities in their five day school schedule. How can they manage to fit in these extracurricular activities in a shortened four day school week? Language arts, math, science, and social studies will always take precedence. After school sport activities may also have to be cancelled too. Students won't be able to make it to practices due to the longer school hours and homework assignments. Some people may argue that kids can start their sport activities late in the day. Though that could be scheduled, how about what time these kids have to go to bed? Kids also don't like when they have to miss their sports' practices. Therefore, shortening school days will definitely become counterproductive and will have devastating consequences both physically and emotionally on the kids.

     In a traditional five day school week, sometimes parents have trouble taking half days off work to pick up their kids. How would they be able to take an extra day off every week for the entire school year? Where would the kids go? What would they do? Though having a four day school week may have some advantages in increasing student and teacher attendance rate, decreasing the need for a substitute teacher, as well as significant savings on utility and fuel bills, childcare will be a major concern for working families. Parents will need to find someone to supervise their children. Paying for the increasing cost of childcare may not even be an option for many families. On the other hand, the students, on that extra day off, will be playing, watching TV, playing video games, and staying up late. They will put less effort on school work. As a result, do you really think it's worth it after all the hard work teachers and parents put it to educate these kids?

     Finally, as school districts are facing a nightmare of increasing budget cuts, many district leaders are making hard decisions on how to handle the decreased funding. However changing to a four day school week should not be an alternative. Though it will save the school districts money from operating costs and stave off teacher layoffs, it will have a negative impact on "at risk" and "special needs" students. Longer days will be difficult for many kids.  Losing the extracurricular activities will be detrimental for all students. Childcare for many working families will be a problem during these hard economical times. Unknown is still the impact on student achievement. Last but not least, I strongly believe that we should keep our traditional five day school week because nothing in the four day week teaches children well.