[Opinion] A five day school and work week is critical to productivity and educational success

Sofia Schorer Kaplan, Social Media Editor (Class Intercom)

The work week has been institutionalized with the five days of work and the two days of rest, and is based around maximizing productivity while also ensuring employees and students receive the break they need. Much debate has risen over implementing a four day work and school week and replacing Friday as part of the weekend. However, the five day work and school week creates more consistency by providing a routine.

The five day school week provides greater consistency for education as students can see their teachers and receive instruction for the majority of the week and the weekend bridges a break in between instruction. In order for students to receive the same hours of instruction in an academic year, schools would have to extend daily instructional periods to amend for that change.

Lengthening the school day poses a threat to the quality of students’ education, “longer school days could result in attention deficit and fatigue, making the extra class time ineffective,” according to a 2021 Seattle Pi article. The added class time becomes unproductive and students struggle to retain information.

Students also receive one less day of instruction per week which has shown issues in test scores and retention of information. According to a 2020 survey assessing the academic performance of several Oregon schools in which the four day school week was implemented, students earned lower math and reading scores on standardized tests following a switch to a four-day school schedule.

The increased instructional time also poses threats to teachers and faculty, especially considering the difficulties in hiring and retaining qualified teachers. Teachers would be expected to work longer hours with less opportunities for planning and preparing for instruction during school hours.

Longer school days and a shorter school week would diminish student opportunity for involvement on campus through extracurriculars, sports and other activities. Schools may reduce funding and or the opportunities themselves to accommodate for running the school later than on a regular five day school week.

The four day school week also raises concerns over the equity of removing one whole school for underprivileged students such as those who rely on public school services like free or reduced meals and transportation; the loss of a school day may cause these students to not properly eat.

A shorter school week can cause issues for parents in terms of childcare in adapting how to care for their children who have a day weekly off school that parents are not entitled to by their work schedules.

In order for a shorter school week to properly function, compromises will have to be made in order to abridge the shorter week of school while maintaining high level education and for the system to function with other schedules.