Four vs. five day work week: is it worth it?

As teenagers, our lives usually consist of waking up before the sun comes up, and doing homework late into the night. Trying to balance social life, school and work all pile up the stress of being a high schooler. Switching to a four-day school week would give teens more rest and leisure time, helping them prepare for the next week. 

This valuable time could help the mental stability of teens, allowing more physical and social activities to provide a more well-balanced lifestyle. The five-day school week prohibits enough time for rest, homework and extracurricular activities.

 Although the standard school model has proven successful for many generations and has provided the Florida school system with efficiency, a four-day format can prove as effective. According to The National Conference of State Legislatures, approximately 560 districts in 25 states have one or more schools on a four-day schedule.

The standard Florida school schedule traditionally consists of five days out of each week and lasts approximately 185 days per year. According to the Colorado Department of Education, districts on a four-day week schedule typically partake in approximately seven and a half hours of classes per day and participate in 144 days each school year. 

According to Education Week, research showed that four-day secondary students spent more time on homework, at work, at school activities, and on hobbies than their counterparts. And, their research showed less school days resulted in better sleep patterns, “with four-day secondary students saying that they felt much less tired than their counterparts in five-day systems.” 

Additionally, the Education Commission of the States determined that the average district could save up to 5.43 percent of its budget by moving to a four-day week. 

Adapting the schedule also creates more flexibility for teachers, as they would have more time to prepare a sturdy curriculum for their students and add additional time to grade work.  

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported by the Wall Street Journal, roughly 300,000 public school educators and staff left the field between February 2020 and May 2022. An alarming 55 percent of educators indicated that they could be leaving their profession or retiring early, according to a survey from the National Education Association.  

More educators would be attracted to working if they had one less day to work during the school week. This may help with the current teacher shortage and unemployment issue. Furthermore, this will provide better health conditions for the educators and lessen stress, increasing overall productivity.

Because schools in most counties have a standard schedule of five days a week, nothing may change. However, if the students and parents remain open-minded, the system could adapt resulting in a break for the students of the future.