Four-day school week causes high failure rates.-Editorial

Fifty-seven percent of the Marshfield student body is failing at least one class. With such a high failure rate, one would think the district office would want the students attending more school as opposed to less. However, with the four-day schedule, students are losing approximately 3,000 hours of school over four years.
The 2010-2011 school year was the last year the 5-day week was implemented. According to the district AYP report, there was a four-year cohort 62 percent graduation rate that year. Just a year later, after having incorporated the four-day week, the AMO report showed Marshfield’s four-year cohort graduation rate dropped to 56 percent. This provides strong evidence that a four-day week has a hugely negative effect on the success of students. The district is currently debating whether or not to convert back to a five-day week. Staff writer Helena Platt covered the topic in her news story this issue.

Academics at Marshfield clearly need more emphasis. Currently, the school holds almost weekly pep assemblies to raise excitement in the school for athletics. Students are also reminded to get involved to enhance their high school experience. However, if school policies are followed, 57 percent of the student body is ineligible to participate in athletics and various other activities because of their failing grades. A high school is first and foremost a place for adolescents to be educated, and this is where the greatest emphasis must reside for success to be achieved.

Marshfield often advocates friendly athletic competition with its cross-town rival North Bend. Ironically, when the Coos Bay School District switched to the four-day week, many students transferred to North Bend. Perhaps this was a wise decision for them or their parents to make, because while this change dropped Marshfield’s graduation rate to 56 percent, North Bend has maintained a 65 percent four-year cohort graduation rate. Maybe the friendly competition could extend from athletics to areas that are more academic; this emphasis might allow the Marshfield students to drag themselves out of the slump they seem to have sunk into.

At this point, the district and administration need to focus solely on academic success at Marshfield when making decisions such as the one to be made on the four-day week. A mediocre education is highly detrimental to any future success, regardless of a student’s involvement in sports and extracurricular activities. No matter what the cost, it is imperative that academics be cast into the spotlight at Marshfield.