studying scaled 1

KSDE: evidence shows students are negatively impacted by a 4-day school week

There is a growing trend in small school districts to go to a 4-day school week, which, unfortunately, is another example of the education system acting in the interests of adults to the detriment of students.

Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson recently told the Kansas State Board of Educationthat the research on learning supports a 5-day week.  Watson says KSDE has not found an educational advantage to 4-day weeks and went on to give several reasons why a 5-day week is better for students:

  • 5-day students attend more minutes in the classroom over a week.
  • 5-day schools are performing slightly better on state assessments than 4-day schools
  • There is a statistically significant difference in ACT scores, with 5-day school performing better

Watson says 77 of the state’s 1,300+ schools now have a 4-day school week.  Students and adults working in schools may like it, but that doesn’t justify a change that may be detrimental to learning.

Ward Cassidy is a retired teacher and principal and is now the Executive Director of the Kansas School Board Resource Center.  Like the Sentinel, KSBRC is a subsidiary of Kansas Policy Institute.  He says he believes student achievement is better served in a full 5-day week.

“I have worked with several schools that have gone to a four-day week.  Their reasons vary for making a change.  Some thought it would be an attractive way to retain teachers and possibly even recruit some teachers.  There were cases where that worked.  I know of no district where the decision to change was made to improve academic achievement.

“The staff and students usually like the four-day week.  Parents have mixed emotions. The parents who work have to find childcare for the days their students are not in school.

“The administrators indicate there is no great cost savings.”

Retired Kansas teacher David Dorsey, who is an adjunct scholar at Kansas Policy Institute, raises another academic concern with the 4-day school week.

“I can’t imagine a 4-day week would improve student achievement, especially at the elementary level. In my experience with grade school students, attention span is always an issue teachers grapple with. Assuming a 4-day week would involve an increase in the number of school hours each day, attention spans would become an even bigger issue, which, I believe, would ultimately lead to less learning.”

Students cannot afford to lose learning time, with a third of them below grade level in reading and math.

Students who depend on getting free meals at school are also negatively impacted by a 4-day school week.

Similar Posts