More schools are adopting 4-day weeks. For parents, the challenge is day 5

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. institute / ˈɪn stɪˌtut / (v.) – to begin or create something, such as a new law, rule, or system

    The school staff instituted a new program to improve children’s learning.

  2. wane / weɪn / (v.) – to decrease or become weaker in influence, size, or importance

    Children’s interest in board games has waned. They prefer playing video games now.

  3. enlist / ɛnˈlɪst / (v.) – to ask for help and support from someone

    The teacher enlisted students to help in the school event.

  4. daycare / ˈdeɪ ˌkɛər / (n.) – a facility or program that provides care to children or sick adults during the day, usually when their family members are at work

    Tony takes his daughter to the daycare before going to work.

  5. make up (something) / meɪk ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to make an effort to do something to provide what was needed because one could not do it at the expected time

    The student was sick for a week, so she studied on weekends to make up the time.


Read the text below.

Like a growing number of students around the U.S., children in Independence, Missouri are on a four-day school schedule, a change instituted this fall by their district.

To the kids, it’s terrific. But their moms are frustrated to find themselves hunting for activities to keep their kids entertained and off electronics while they work five days a week.

Hundreds of school systems around the country have adopted four-day weeks in recent years, mostly in rural and western parts of the U.S. Districts cite cost savings and advantages for teacher recruitment, although some have questioned the effects on students who already missed out on significant learning during the pandemic.

For parents, there also is the added complication, and cost, of arranging childcare for that extra weekday. While surveys show parents approve overall, support wanes among those with younger children.

The district-provided childcare isn’t as convenient because it’s not in every school. And in other four-day districts, so many parents adjust their work schedule or enlist family to help that the daycare has been discontinued because of low enrollment.

That is especially concerning for parents of younger kids and those whose disabilities can make finding childcare an extra challenge.

The effect on academics is murky, although some studies show the schedule doesn’t hurt test scores if the other four school days are lengthened to make up the time, said Paul Thompson, an associate professor of economics at Oregon State University.

However, the Rand Corporation found achievement differences in four-day districts, while initially hard to spot, became apparent over multiple years. That worries Karyn Lewis of the research organization NWEA, whose recent study found students are not making up all the academic ground they lost during the pandemic. “Now is not the time to do anything that threatens the amount of instruction kids are receiving,” she said.

In Independence, the shortened schedule created opportunities to help struggling students through an off-day program starting this month. Older students, meanwhile, can take classes at a community college.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Would you like the four-day schedule to be implemented in workplaces/schools in your country as well? Why or why not? How would this schedule affect you? Discuss.
  • If you were to go to school/work for only four days, how would you like to spend your three-day weekend? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How do working parents in your country usually take care of their kids when they have to go to work? Do you think there are enough daycare services in your country? Discuss.
  • What do you think are the pros and cons of having a four-day school schedule for students? What about for their teachers and parents? Discuss.