Westlake High School

Opinion: School should be four days a week

You open your eyes and roll over in bed, reaching for your phone. It’s Friday and it’s 10:30 a.m. and you are just now waking up, feeling well-rested and prepared for the full day ahead of you. With this newfound free time, you can do whatever you please… you could even go back to bed!

This would be a student’s reality should school be only four days a week. 

Due to the academic benefits, environmental impact and the opportunities that are available with more free time, school should only be four days a week instead of the typical five. This change ultimately improves students’ lives both inside and outside of school.

One may object that having four days of school also means only having four days for sports practices, potentially causing sports teams to be unprepared for games and competitions.

However, having another day of the weekend means that there is another full day available for team practices, without the usual constraints of a school day schedule – meaning without having to wait until after school to start a practice or worry about giving students enough time for homework. This actually allows sports teams to be better prepared for games and competitions, with the extra day off also available for traveling to such events without skipping school.

Many schools that have switched to four-day weeks have seen improvement in students’ academic performances. One school district reported that their graduation rates slowly increased and another found that their test scores improved after changing to this schedule, according to the Vittana organization.

This schedule change directly benefits students in regards to showing up to class and their overall behavior; one school district reported an increase in student attendance up to 20% and an additional district found that the frequency of their discipline referrals dropped by 73%.

Not only would this shift benefit academic performance, but it would also reduce a school’s harmful environmental impact. One day less of school means one day less of electricity, water and paper usage.

While some staff might be at the school and using these amenities, environmental damage will still significantly decrease without students present for that one day. As well as the financial benefits that come with less waste, this schedule change would reduce a school’s carbon footprint and energy consumption, which is especially vital because of the environmental crisis we are now experiencing. 

To break this idea down, if there were only four days a week, there would be one day less of driving to school, turning on the lights, running the sinks, using the toilets, eating school lunch, printing assignments and driving home from school. This would significantly reduce each students’ impact on the environment by shrinking his or her carbon emissions, electricity usage, water consumption, paper use and food waste, not to mention the decrease of financial costs that would come with this change for schools.

Another advantage of a four-day week is the increased free time available for students.

While some may use this time for not so productive things such as napping and binging their favorite show, students wishing to be productive could use this extra day of the weekend to catch up on assignments, work on long term projects and even get a part-time job.

This change would significantly reduce student stress by allowing them to use the extra day to study for upcoming tests, time that a lot of students do not get with the current five-day week schedule.

Moreover, this shift allows students the opportunity to get a part-time job, which is necessary for some low-income students for the little things, such as basic day to day needs, and the big things, including saving money to pay for college.

The benefits of a four-day school week are endless – improved school performance, less of an environmental impact and more free time, to name a few. Due to these advantages, among many others, schools should shift to a four-day schedule in order to support students academically, financially and mentally, and reduce damage to the environment caused by this school.