The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

[EDITORIAL] WEGO should implement 4-school day week

Do students really need five days of school each week? Of course not.
Photo by Jordy Carrillo
It can be hard to get out of bed after a two-day weekend; although the alarm clock could ring later than usual on a Monday, some people do not have the luxury of sleeping in.

In February 2023, at least 41 school districts in Texas adopted the four-day schedule; by March, that number had risen to 76. Some claim this move is an effort to attract teachers, reduce student absenteeism, and/or save some money. But the movement is hardly new: in 2009, HB4324, put forth to the Illinois House of Representatives proposing a four-day school week, failed spectacularly just two years later.

Of course, HB4324 arrived well before COVID. Now, proponents of four-day weeks argue that the extra day off helps to reduce teacher burnout, while opponents worry about the impact on student learning, which was invariably affected by remote learning and the pandemic as a whole. 

Even teenagers need to let loose every once in awhile – or maybe every week. (Photo by Jordy Carrillo)

We believe West Chicago Community High School would benefit greatly from the four-day school week, as it would facilitate teachers’ schedules in a way that provides them with more work time, and the change in schedule would increase time for students to take on jobs, bond with family/friends, and just have time to be a kid.

It must be said that switching to a four-day work week does not actually reduce the number of days students are in school: as HB4324 maintained, students are required, by law, to be in school for a minimum (185) number of days per year. Switching to a four day week would simply and most likely mean that students would need to attend school into the month of June, or that an extra 35 minutes would need to be added onto every school day.

Currently, WCCHS has late start Mondays, which give students – at least those who live within walking distance – the chance to sleep in until almost 9:00, as school starts at 9:15 a.m. If we have late starts every Monday, why would we need a day off?

However, the opportunities a full day off can provide are way more than an extra hour can give; not only would teachers and students have more time for their families, but they have another day in which they do not have to worry about completing any type of lesson plan or schoolwork. The extra day would provide teachers with more flexibility in terms of planning and grading: they need not finish their work late Sunday night, but can ease into the week with another day. Those school districts that have switched to a four-day week report an increase in the number of teacher applications received, as well as teacher satisfaction.

Students, too, would have a further chance to hang out with friends, or even get a part-time job that they only work on the weekends.

We questioned whether parents in and out of District 94 would side with the four-day school agenda. In fairness, some of our editorial board believed parents would prioritize students maintaining a social life in high school than a working life. Only a quarter of a lifetime is that of the child, whilst the rest of adulthood comes knocking on the door. Adult lives consist of work and providing for the family they have (if no family, maybe themselves). And sure, a childhood is a once and a lifetime experience: people spend most of their life as an adult, so why pressure kids with so much work? They should not be living the life that an adult has, but should be learning, having fun, going out with friends, and living an idyllic childhood. Is that not what every parent wants for their child?

“Children need to be children. They need to interact with other students more often and the best way to do that is for them to be outside of school. They need to have fun, play games, do sports together they need to interact more and they would come back to school feeling more freshed than stressed,” Javier Saucedo, one District 94 parent who prefers a five-day school week, said.

Students in Mary Fremeau’s Critical Reading class participate in their weekly discussion, held every Monday. (Photo by Josue Varela)

There is, too, concern that students’ test scores may fall, or that their learning may be stunted, both fears that have been alleviated by a number of studies which have found minimal impact in either area.

So, there is almost no distinguishable difference in terms of ability or test scores among students who attend school for four days a week, and those who go for five. Not only are five days exhausting students, but only having two days (Saturday and Sunday) as a break in between is absurd. Saturday, in this case, is not as bad Sunday, but all students know the feeling of frustration starts to mount the day before school returns to session, and as those negative feelings build toward the evening, they are left with little to no chance to really regroup.

“Students are constantly overwhelmed by school and all things that come with it. By the time Friday rolls around, students are exhausted,” Kyra Motyka, writer for the Kaneland Krier, said, and we could not agree more.

A four-day school week is a change much-need. Time is important, especially when unencumbered freedom only lasts 18 years of your life. Why expect so much work to be done by kids/teens? If schoolwork can be completed in four days, rather than five, with no outstanding negative consequences, then so be it: give the kids a break.

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About the Contributors
Jordy Carrillo
Jordy Carrillo, Reporter
Jordy is a senior at WEGO who was recommended to the school's journalism program and wanted to try it out. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and collect Hot Wheels; his impressive collection features upwards of 200 cars, and is still growing. Not surprisingly, considering his interest in miniature cars, Jordy wants to be an automotive engineer after high school. He also believes in aliens. 
Josue Varela
Josue Varela, Reporter
Josue Varela is a determined, ambitious senior at West Chicago Community High School with a wide range of passions, from music to skateboarding. He prides himself on honesty and being true to himself. For this reason, he feels represented by Spongebob, seeing those same qualities in the yellow sponge. After all, who wouldn’t want to visit the Krusty Krab and work for a boss who would sell their soul for sixty-two pennies?  Josue's interest in journalism stems from a desire to improve his interpersonal communication skills and learn new perspectives. In his time outside of school, he enjoys skating, going out with friends, and listening to any and all genres of music, even country. In the future, Josue sees himself pursuing careers in fashion or audio technology. 
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