A growing trend across the country is a move from the traditional five-day school week to a shorter four-day week. The argument for this move is that it will save schools districts money from operating costs and stave off teacher layoffs. While the movement as been gaining momentum as more districts make the switch, there are several concerns that have many districts and parents weary of making the switch.
Longer School Days
With an extra day off, one would assume that would mean less time in class. In order to make up that extra day and keep kids in the classroom for the same number of hours over a school year, the school day would have to be longer. Concerns arise over kid's ability to sit attentively in a classroom for such a long duration, especially for younger students who have a shorter attention span. Some fear that kids will tend to "zone out" by the end of the day and not learn anything.
Less Time for Extra Curricular Activities
With longer school days, that means there is less time for after-school extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs, which some feel are an integral part of a child's education. This would force children to either start their extra curricular activities late in the day, and thus end late, or participate on their days off or early in the morning before school.
Having an extra day off and an extra long weekend can affect educational momentum. Teachers argue that certain at-risk or special needs students will have a tendency to forget what they have learned over the long weekend instead of retaining that information and forging forward the next week.
Child care is a primary concern of parents who work. With an extra day off falling during either a Monday or Friday, a traditional work day, working parents would need to find another means of child care while they work. Some districts have tried to solve this problem by using high school students as babysitters on the off day, but paying for child care may not be an option for lower-income families.