* Shortening the school week can address budget deficits and save teachers who would have to be laid off otherwise. In the case of Peach County, Georgia, the district either needed to shorten the school week or cut 39 teachers from the workforce in the 2009 to 2010 school year, according to Fox News. Shaving a day from the school week saves money without sacrificing teaching talent. This approach makes sense if a district faces short-term budgetary difficulties and knows that teachers are needed long-term to support the system.
Con: Difficulty Finding Childcare
* Cutting the week to four days places additional pressure on working parents, who need to arrange childcare for younger children on their days off. Daycare is expensive, and often focuses more on keeping children safe and entertained rather than teaching them. A few districts try to alleviate these problems by providing support for families who can’t find or afford care. Some district-sponsored programs even offer tutoring services.
Pro: Encouraging Responsibility and Independence
* Having a day off from classes doesn’t necessarily mean getting a day off from schoolwork. Schools can modify their curricula to assign more individual, take-home projects that students complete on their days off. Giving students more independent work encourages the development of research skills, problem-solving skills and time management abilities. Having the extra day also gives students more time to study on their own, allowing them to learn at their own pace and use a method of their choice to absorb new information.
Con: Not Enough Face Time
* While some children work well on their own, others suffer from less classroom instruction and teacher assistance. Marlow, Oklahoma’s school district superintendent said that the school would move back to five-day weeks after the school tried a four-day schedule to save on operating costs. Compressing content forces students to work at an accelerated pace that some can’t handle. Many students learn best with guidance and support, and concerned parents sometimes report that reduced classroom time hinders their children’s progress.
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Cost Savings, Wages Lost
* A March 2010 article in “The Wall Street Journal” reports that budget shortfalls are often the driving force behind a four-day school week. The article cites a school in Peach County, Georgia, that was able to save $200,000 by shortening its school week. Schools save money on items like gas, utilities, food and substitute teachers. However, these cost savings can also result in reduced hours for workers like bus drivers, cooks and janitors. According to “The Wall Street Journal,” hourly workers can lose as much as 20 percent of their income.
* Research is mixed on the impact of a four-day school week on academic performance. A “Time” article from August 2008 reports that a Kentucky school with a shortened week drastically improved its ranking for standardized tests, moving from 111th in the state to 53rd. The school took the savings it realized and put the money back into educational programs. With one less day of school, student absenteeism has also been found to decline. Opponents of the shortened school week claimed in the “Time” article that students in the United States already lag behind students in Europe and Asia who attend more school. With a longer weekend, some fear that students are more likely to forget what they have learned. Students with special needs or those who are at-risk may especially find it difficult to retain information.
* To meet the state’s requirement for school hours, districts that move to four-day school weeks will add more hours to the school day and also shorten breaks for recess and lunch. This results in students spending longer days at school and in the classroom. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, this can be exhausting, especially for younger students. Longer days also make it more difficult for students to participate in extracurricular activities. However, the extra day off is often used as time for students to undergo tutoring, see the doctor or dentist, work a part-time job, be with their families or take part in school activities.
Childcare and Family Time
* Many parents will be at work when their child is off from school on a Monday or Friday. This leaves the parent to find childcare during the week or make arrangements for a kid who is home, possibly resulting in additional costs for the parents. A longer schedule can also mean the student arrives home at the same time as the parent. In this case, parents may actually not have a need to find after-school care or leave their children alone at home until they get off work.
Read more: Pros and Cons of a Four-Day School Week | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_7973741_pros-cons-fourday-school-week.html#ixzz2J2FaB2yQ