Con: Condensing curriculums leads to inequity and exhaustion

In 1908, a New England cotton mill adopted the first five-day work week instead of the previous six-day week in history to accommodate its Jewish employees during Sabbath, according to an article by The Atlantic.

Since then, almost every United States employer has followed suit. On Dec. 7, the Congressional Prospective Caucus endorsed a bill by Rep. Mark Takano proposing a nationwide change from a five-day, 40 hour work week to a four-day, 32 hour work week. Following this proposed bill, the question of whether schools should adopt the four-day school week has risen. Schools should not adopt a four-day school week to maintain equity among students and avoid deterioration of academic performance.

Switching from a five-day school week to a four-day school week has proven to eliminate equity from campuses. According to a 2020 article by the National Conference of State Legislators, several school districts in Oregon already made the switch and were met with negative outcomes. Students from low income families, special needs students and those from minorities saw a decrease in academic performance following the loss of just one crucial school day. Students that needed the extra support for personal reasons were cut off, which was evident in their decreasing marks and test scores. To maintain equity and fairness among all students, no matter their family situation or other personal factors, schools must continue to uphold the current five-day school week.

Students already feel like their school day is too long, so the last change we should be implementing is longer instructional hours. Switching to a four-day school week would force districts to add another 1.5 hours to the already-long 7-8 hour days, according to a North Dakota State University study. While this addition seems insignificant, even a few extra hours in school impacts performance. According to an article by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, longer school days result in attention deficits and fatigue caused by mental exhaustion. This unproductivity leads to a dip in student performance, ultimately deeming the extra hours as “useless” and “ineffective.” Many Irvine Unified School District students and staff are already noticing effects in this school year’s extended schedule, so the only change we should be implementing is a shorter school day.

Some may claim that a four-day, in-person school week with an online or self-paced fifth school day would grant students time to catch up from the comfort of their homes while still reaping the benefits of in-class instruction. While this may seem like a good idea, 2020’s nationwide online-schooling has already highlighted the flaws of remote learning. According to a 2021 article by CBS13, one in every three students from California high schools failed a class last year. What caused these low marks? Loss of motivation. While somewhat beneficial for its flexibility, online-schooling and hybrid-schooling has proven to suck the joy from students and even encourage procrastination, academic dishonesty and disinterest, even from one online day rather than five. Students are tired from the pandemic and do not need a repeat of last year, especially when many are still catching up on their studies. For the sake of our grades and health, schools should stick to our current five-day, in-person school week.

Schools should not adopt a four-day school week to maintain equity among students, avoid lengthening an already long school day and stray away from 2020’s infamous remote learning model. Instead, schools should focus on promoting a more equitable, healthy academic environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Depending on how it’s implemented and if the four days would have to be longer or not, I know some workplaces that do four days a week, and I’ve seen some studies in which they claim productivity has increased. But last semester, it was definitely very convenient in terms of not needing to commute. But it did make the loss of instructional time, which forced us to skip a few topics that were normally covered. So that was definitely a trade off. And in my experience, very few students used the online office hours time.”

Jeff Prugpichailers, math teacher