The Four-Day Schoolweek Makes a Return

“Parents are furious,” the New York Times reports.


Under the headline “Schools Are Closing Classrooms on Fridays. Parents Are Furious,” the New York Times reports that “some public schools are going remote — or canceling classes entirely — for a day a week, or even for a couple of weeks, because of teacher burnout or staff shortages.”

In “The Shrinking School Week: Effects of a Four-Day Schedule on Student Achievement” (Research, Summer 2021), Paul N. Thompson of Oregon State University wrote for Education Next that he had looked “at student test scores in reading and math over a 15-year period to see what happens when schools switch to a four-day week.” The result? “clear negative consequences for student learning when schools adopt four-day schedules.” He wrote, “when students receive less than a full-time school schedule, learning slows.”

Thompson concluded: “If students and educators want to explore school calendars outside of the typical five-day-a-week schedule, we need to know how to structure flex time to enhance and extend in-school learning. Otherwise, we risk compounding the learning losses students have already sustained in the wake of Covid-19.”

—Education Next

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