Now apply free starting March 27, 2020

The Pros and Cons of a Four-Day School Week

Public schools across the country are cutting their budgets in creative ways that challenge community stakeholders. One example is moving to a four-day school week. The four-day schedule has a nearly 50-year history in the United States, and of the 15,000 school districts in the country, over 120 have moved to a four-day schedule.

A four-day schedule can free up professional development time for teachers and save school districts money, but the change involves challenges for school stakeholders. Schools considering this move need to weigh the pros and cons carefully.

The Benefits of Moving to a Four-Day School Week

Financial

By altering the traditional school schedule, districts can save money. Each school day involves expenses like utilities and water consumption, as well as meals and cafeteria expenses. Many school staff members earn hourly wages, so labor savings add up quickly on the days when they do not work.

Educational
During a four-day school week, teachers use the fifth day for professional development and in service. Proponents of this type of school scheduling suggest students can use this time for special tutoring or enrichment activities. Further, many schools that switch to a four-day week extend existing school days, so students benefit from longer class periods involving more hands-on learning.

Athletic

Athletics tend to take up a lot of school time. Many schools that opt for a four-day school week also change their athletic schedules to include practices and meets on the fifth day so that athletics do not interfere with academics.

Attendance

Many students and staff miss days due to appointments and other engagements. Having one unscheduled day a week allows them to schedule those appointments outside of school hours. This can prevent students from falling behind and keep teachers from taking unneeded personal days.

Supervision

The longer school days of the four-day schedule means students get home around the time their parents return from work. This means afterschool programs may not be necessary, which will save parents money and ensure that kids are not coming home to empty houses.

The Challenges of Moving to a Four-Day School Week

Financial

Changing school scheduling means parents will need to find childcare for the days children are not in school. The rising cost of safe and effective childcare could mean an additional $1,500 in expenses per household per year. For families on a budget, this expense can be burdensome to the point of being unfeasible.

Extracurricular

While schools can move athletic practices and meets to the unscheduled fifth day of the week, the four-day schedule will not leave time for additional practices throughout the week. Furthermore, some families may not be able to accommodate the athletic schedules of the fifth day, which means students may not get to participate in extracurricular activities.

Personal

For some children, school is the safest environment. At school, they get regular meals, supervised recreation, and meaningful adult attention. For these children, a five-day school week is usually the better option.

Physical

Longer days mean wearier children. The younger the child, the more difficult an eight-hour school day can be. For older children, a longer day means even longer nights doing homework. This leaves little time for play, relaxation and exercise.

Should Schools Drop a Day of the Week?

Like everything else in the educational system, every decision affecting such a large group of stakeholders requires a great deal of thought. When districts consider a four-day school week, they should take a full year to conduct research and discuss the challenges with all stakeholders prior to implementing a plan.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online M.Ed. in Educational Administration program.


Sources:

Odyssey: Pros and Cons of a Four-Day School Week

NPR: When a 4-Day School Week Might Cost More Than It Saves

Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.

Our Commitment to Content Publishing Accuracy

Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only. The nature of the information in all of the articles is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.

The information contained within this site has been sourced and presented with reasonable care. If there are errors, please contact us by completing the form below.

Timeliness: Note that most articles published on this website remain on the website indefinitely. Only those articles that have been published within the most recent months may be considered timely. We do not remove articles regardless of the date of publication, as many, but not all, of our earlier articles may still have important relevance to some of our visitors. Use appropriate caution in acting on the information of any article.

Report inaccurate article content:
  • Need More Info?

    Submit the form below, and a representative will contact you to answer any questions.

Or call 866-223-7675

By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Lamar University (LU) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend LU or to purchase any other goods or services.

Ready to Get Started?

Begin your application today!

M.Ed. Online Programs

FIRST COURSE FREE

$825 Value

Apply by March 13

We’re making it easier to start your M.Ed. online! Our first course free offer—an $825 value—is limited to those who apply between March 2 and March 13, 2020 and start class on April 13, 2020.

The M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and all certificate programs are excluded from the offer.

lamar-logo-header.svg

By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Lamar University (LU) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend LU or to purchase any other goods or services.

  • Need More Info?

    Submit the form below, and a representative will contact you to answer any questions.

or call 866-223-7675

By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Lamar University (LU) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend LU or to purchase any other goods or services.

Ready to apply?

Congratulations, you’re taking the first step in shaping a future for yourself with great opportunities.

Please fill out the form and start the online application process. For help with any questions you have, call:

By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Lamar University (LU) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend LU or to purchase any other goods or services.

  • Need More Info?

    Submit the form below, and a representative will contact you to answer any questions.

or call 866-223-7675

By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Lamar University (LU) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend LU or to purchase any other goods or services.