Opinions vary on 4-day school week


The Magnet Tribune: Julieta Lopez

World Geography teacher Juan Astudillo helps a student during a recent first block class. He said he prefers having a 5-day school week.

Jocelyn Figueroa, Staff Writer

David Rincon, a freshman from Nixon High School, likes the idea of a four-day school week.

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“I think it’s a good idea, we get more time to ourselves. We will be able to do more things with another day off,” Rincon said.

An estimated 560 districts in 25 states have allowed at least some of their schools to adopt a four-day week, with most moving to a Monday-to-Thursday schedule, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Generally, schools make up for the lost day by adding extra time to the remaining four days, according to Harvard Graduate School of Education in a June 2018 article.

I do think I’ll get bored with three days off. I really see no advantages at all.”

— Juan Astudillo

Colorado school district 27J went to the 4-day week in August 2018.

Officials estimate they will save about $1 million a year, according to The Denver Post newspaper. They saved money on transportation, utilities and substitute-teacher costs.

Residents of the school district did not approve of a tax increase which forced the change to four days, The Post said.

Students will have longer class periods from Tuesday through Friday, according to The Post.

The district now hosts childcare on Mondays from 6:30 am to 6 pm for $30 per child.

District officials also hope the four-day week will help with recruiting and keeping teachers, the newspaper said.

Laredo students and teachers discussed their opinions about compressing the school week into four days.

Rincon discussed his reaction if the district were to have a four-day week.

“I would feel relieved because the five-day a week puts a lot of stress on us,” Rincon said.

Julian Vela, Nixon’s Spanish teacher, also liked the idea of a four-day week.

“I would embrace the change,” he said. “It would benefit all involved because (my family) could spend more quality time together.”

Rincon and Vela both think they wouldn’t get bored with 3 days off.  They said they would spend it on themselves.

I would feel relieved because the five-day a week puts a lot of stress on us.”

— David Rincon

“We will be able to do more things with another day off, doing something I like, or hanging out at my friend’s house,” Rincon said.

“My days would be filled with activities. I would rest and do constructive things,” Vela added.

Vela and Rincon both see advantages to a four-day school week that they get to rest and spend more time for themselves.

Unlike Vela and Rincon, Juan Astudillo, a VMT world geography teacher, thinks that school shouldn’t be compressed into 4 days.

“Five days is good enough to get most work done. Four days is not enough time to get a week’s work done,” Astudillo said.

Astudillo would be unhappy with a change to a four-day week.

“I would be disappointed. I feel that students’ abilities to learn what they need would be negatively affected,” he said.

He thinks the school week should remain at five days.

“Five days is ideal for a school week. Making it shorter will only place more stress on teachers, students, and parents,” Astudillo said.

Astudillo doesn’t see any advantages in four-day school week.

“I do think I’ll get bored with three days off. I really see no advantages at all,” he said.

He added that some families may have problems with a four-day school week.

“I think childcare will be difficult to find because of the extra day off,” he said.

Top school district administrators did not respond to Magnet Tribune emails asking for comment.

Dr. Elsa Barron, VMT assistant principal, said she likes the idea of a 4-day school week.

“I like the idea of having a 4-day school week because that would mean a 3-day weekend,” she said.

She doesn’t think it would affect her schedule.

“During the summers, the district works a 4-day week; therefore, I’m used to this type of schedule, and I really enjoy the 3-day weekends,” she said.

Barron added that advantages would be more for adults rather than students.

“I believe a lot of my colleagues would enjoy and welcome a 4-day week. My family would probably be happy for me to have a 4-day week,” she said.

Barron said the district would have to think about what’s right for students before making the change.

“Certainly, before a decision for a school district to become a 4-day school week, many factors need to be researched in order to make sure that it could be a right thing for the district and that the district will continue to service children of LISD to meet their academic needs,” she said.