Do schools need to have a four-day school week? In the article, "Four-Day School Weeks," author Jaclyn Melicharek explains the major problems students face when schools begin this four-day school weeks' routine. She flashes back to the 1970's when a four-day school policy was last employed, which affected the educational institutions back then. She explains how lowly the US education system ranks (180 school days per year) compared to countries like China and Korea (220 school days per year). Melicharek also argues that apart from the lower academic test scores students get from a four-day school week; the emotional part this policy has on students will make them lose focus during the additional two hours of each day. She further argues the effect of having this four-day school policy which makes the students unable to catch up with class work when absent. In the other article, "The Effect of a Four-Day School Week Has on Teachers and Students," author Brian D. Hadfield argues about the benefits of having a four-day school week. He also explains that about 100 of the country's approximately 15,000 school districts, in 17 states, uses a four- day weeks. Hadfield reveals that these students will not be focused, which makes them forget valuable curriculum when they are granted a four-day school week. I agree with the author Melicharek's claim that, shortening the school week to four days is a bad idea because it lowers academic performance, hinders the quality of education for young students and disrupts the schedules of parents.
Having an extra day off and an extra-long weekend can affect students' academic performance. The requirements for total education time do not change just because a school district goes to a four-day school week. Melicharek states, "It is frightening to consider how a four-day school week would impact United States students' level of academic achievement, for they are given even fewer days per week to learn directly from teachers, interact with peers, and study attentively in the classroom" (97). Some students can easily shift to the four-day school week, as they can adapt to changes and appreciate the benefits. However, others would learn differently and cannot often handle such a dramatic shift in time spent with their teachers. In this article, "Four-Day School Week" Melicharek explains how students from Europe and Asia regularly outperform American students in math, science, and reading by engaging in more learning time per year. It is clear that removing a single day from school week can undoubtedly have ramifications that will affect students' academic performance. I believe that it will be better to stick with the five-day school week for the sake of the low performing students since it will help them spend more time with their teachers.
Some students manage to work well via self-supervision, but others will suffer from the lack of the teacher's assistance. Compressing learning materials forces the students to work at an accelerated pace that some student cannot handle the additional pressure. Melicharek states, "Without sharp attention spans, students will not retain the proper information and risk failing courses due to a schedule change that is truly out of their control" (98). Many young students learn best with the guidance and support of their teachers at school. Without the supervision of the teachers, the ability of the students to learn effectively is adversely affected. In the article, author Melicharek argues that parents and teachers worry that the children will get too exhausted in class as they attempted to cope with the lengthened day. It makes these children lose focus during the last two hours of each day at school. Expecting every child to have a similar style of learning can be a very risky proposition when considering a four-day school week. I believe having a five-day school week would be very useful for young students to get a quality education they need.
Reducing the school week to four days places great pressure on absenteeism. Melicharek writes, "If a student is sick or unwillingly absent one of the four days, what type of stiff penalty would he or she face (98)?" The author is illustrating the gravity of the shortened week since the teachers will respond to the lessened days by increasing the study material in the other days. It shows that students who are absent for one day will lag so far behind the others due to the considerable amount of material they miss. The policy will leave such students playing catch-up with the rest of the class since it will also affect the time available for homework. Reducing the days will affect the students academically and emotionally.
The four-day week will affect the staffing process in primary and secondary schools. In the essay, Melicharek states, "Without a stable income, these employees would have to leave for other jobs (99)." The author explains that custodians, cafeteria employees, drivers, and other casual workers will find themselves without a job for one extra day in the week. It would mean losing significant wages, which is an untenable proposition for such hardworking people who support many school activities. The increased income instability forces some of them to opt for other opportunities that will assure them of consistent earnings. The school will start to experience a staffing problem as employees move out without people to fill the vacant posts for fear of undergoing a similar plight. The four-day week also makes it difficult for employees who juggle two jobs to work efficiently. The lengthened school days will drive them to give up one position, which is unbearable for households that cannot depend on one income source.
Teachers are feeling the burden of the longer days in class. "Tired teachers cannot be expected to successfully motivate students to learn," writes Melicharek (99). Although the working week reduces by a single day, teachers have reportedly felt the mental and physical strain of the added time in the other four days. The teachers are exhausted but are still required to maintain high-quality performances while keeping the tired students interactive. The two extra hours count for time spent actively engaging the students and hence teachers will have to dig deeper to find more time to prepare the teaching materials. A School Board News article reports that at the end of the day, teachers are more tired than students are since the latter can afford to be more flexible with the extra hours (Melicharek 99). This policy will put an enormous strain on teachers, which could negatively affect their performance.
I concur with Melicharek's claim that shortening the school week to four days is an awful thought since it brings down scholarly execution, blocks the nature of training for youthful understudies and disturbs the calendars of guardians. It reduces the time available for student-teacher engagement and puts a strain on the entire educational network. The students' performance will deteriorate since they are too tired at the end of the day. The four-week policy is counterproductive.
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