Should the school week be shorter?


Avni Singh

Photo courtesy of CalendarWiz. The week of Mar. 7 was the first full week with an anchor day in a long time, which made it feel much longer than it actually was.

Avni Singh, Staff Writer

This week felt like forever, which may be due to the fact that this was the first week with an anchor day since Feb. 8, and that the weeks past were, thankfully, filled with snow days and a Super Tuesday.

As students, some topics we’re all complaining about include the amount of homework and how early schools start. Could reducing the number of days in a school week help with these problems?

According to a report in the journal of Education Finance and Policy, elementary schools that have four-day weeks are showing improvements in math test scores. Having a four-day week would also reduce costs of transportation and expenses for the school system, as buses would only have to run for four out of seven days, and the same for lunch. Teachers would also have more time to coordinate with each other and plan lessons, and students would have more time for socializing with friends and spending time with family.

However, many problems also come with implementing a four-day week. For example, according to a 2015 report by Ranking Today, the United States is number 14 in “cognitive skills and education attainment.” Shortening the school week could exacerbate this problem, as students would be spending less time in class.

Parents of students who can’t stay home by themselves when they go to work will also have to spend money to keep their child in a daycare or an alternate full-day activity, which could be a major problem for parents who can’t afford to do so for one day every week. Also, though there would be less expenses for the county, teachers, substitutes, and bus drivers, among many others, would face major salary cuts. Though it is only one day a week, one day equates to approximately eight working hours, which quickly adds up for a whole school year.

Another major problem with a four day week would arise if only one county implemented it, while counties around it did not. Many students who go to TJ come from counties other than Fairfax County. I myself live in Loudoun County, which can be problematic if, when it’s snowing, Loudoun County closes schools while Fairfax County does not. Since my bus is a Loudoun County bus, I’m often left scrambling for a ride on days like this. If a four day week was implemented by either Fairfax County or Loudoun County Public Schools (FCPS) and not the other, I would have to find my own transportation for the fifth day of the week.

In terms of homework and studying, I feel I would definitely benefit from a shorter week, as I’d have more time to balance doing homework and relaxing. However, I also know that I still would most likely wait until the last day to do my homework and study for tests, which is what I usually do on the Sunday of every weekend. I probably also wouldn’t get more sleep than I usually get on weekends, as I’d take the extra day for granted and stay up late the nights before.

As a result, even though a four day week would provide students with an opportunity to get more work done, I feel many won’t take advantage of it, and that the cons of a four day week outweighs its pros.