The Medieval Times

The student news site of Cabell Midland High School

The student news site of Cabell Midland High School

The Medieval Times

The student news site of Cabell Midland High School

The Medieval Times

4-Day School Week: Pros and Cons


     Children look to school as a place for comfort in times of need, but with the rising popularity of a four-day school week, that might change. Four-day school weeks, achieved through extending the length of individual school days, have recently become increasingly popular in school districts across the country.  

     This schedule forces students and their parents to adapt to an entirely new way of life, which can be a daunting task for a struggling parent. While this agenda seems like a thing made of childhood dreams, this schedule has many drawbacks. These drawbacks include anxiety over childcare, shortened time dedicated to education and consequential influences on teens to partake in illegal or strongly discouraged activities.  

     The lack of a fifth school day can cause an enormous amount of stress for a working parent of a young child, due to the expenses associated with hiring a nanny, paying for daycare or constantly buying gas to drive a child back and forth from a relative’s home. While this may not be an issue for all parents, this schedule can severely disrupt a person’s lifestyle and create unexpected expenses because of babysitting.  

     While in school, children are provided with a safe place to get a warm meal, but this stability could easily disappear when students are forced to stay home for three days instead of two. However, a school would still provide students with a food box on Thursday, which would take care of children who would go hungry without it; the main worry is children who do not reside in a safe area or are being neglected at home. These children usually look to school as a haven, a place where they can get away, which could change if they are forced to spend the day in a household that is unfit for them.  

     Another con to the lack of school on a weekday is that it significantly decreases the amount of time that students spend in the classroom. According to the article “The Shrinking School Week” by Paul Thompson, the “… overall weekly time in school decreases by 3 to 4 hours.” This decrease in school hours is the result of the implementation of a four-day school week. There is no way to implement enough hours into a school day to make up for the lost weekday: either way, children are losing learning hours. To succeed in life children need a thorough education, which they cannot get if time is shaved off of in-person learning.  

     Contrary to this claim, one area that has successfully pulled off the integration of a reduced learning day is Finland, which ranks eighth among the top ten most educated countries in 2023. In contrast to the U.S., Finnish children only spend five hours in a classroom setting, which is indicative of the efficiency of their work ethic. 

      It is possible that a four-day school week could replenish children’s love for learning because it allows them to take a break and do activities that they enjoy on their day off. Many schools that have implemented this agenda have found that their student’s test grades, on average, have been steadily decreasing. Contrary to the facts, Landon Brammer, a 10th-grade CMHS student, states that because he already gets his classwork done ahead of schedule “I have time to do the things that I enjoy due to my spare time.” Not only do students get a good education at school, but they also get an opportunity for physical activity and access to a counselor.  

     Opposed to the many drawbacks, four-day school weeks could help the education system by providing students with a much-needed break during the school week. This day could be used to complete homework and spend time with family members. This removal of a school day could rejuvenate children and cause them to be more motivated during the week, which would also result in the completion of more school work.  

     While in school, children are carefully monitored in their behavior and attitudes, which keeps many of them on the right track to a successful future by making sure they are not partaking in illegal activities; a missing weekday could change all of that hard work. Without adult supervision on Fridays, teenagers are free to run rampant and partake in drugs, alcohol and many more dangerous and illegal activities. While many parents believe that their child is responsible enough to make the right choices while home alone, their child could, in reality, be peer-pressured into many future-altering bad decisions.  

     Marijuana, vaping, and other illegal substance use in teens have also significantly increased due to the alternative school schedule. In the article “Juvenile Crime and the four-day school week”, Stephanie Fischer and Daniel Argyle write that four-day weeks in Oregon were closely “associated with increased incidence of drug and marijuana use.” Without a parent or guardian at the house to oversee their child’s activities, teens’ grades could seriously lower and they could miss out on achievements that would look good when applying for college.  

     While four-day school weeks may initially sound incredible to students, there are many negatives associated with a decrease in school days such as the parental struggle to find guardians for their children; the hampering of U.S. education compared to other developed countries; and an increase in drug and illegal substance rates. Decreasing education through a four-day school week could be a step in the wrong direction for an already struggling education system, but only time will tell.  

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