Dear Mr Taoiseach, we now have proof that a four-day week would benefit us all in myriad ways. So, let's make that happen, okay?
A new American study (from Georgia State University and Montana) has discovered that a four-day week for kids in elementary school serves them better in academic terms, and we don't need to carry out research to know that we'd all be happier and more willing to work hard with a three-day weekend to look forward to. We also reckon such a shift in society may even create more jobs, but that's just us.
Most notably, young American students ability improved in the area of mathematics, which is certainly one of the most useful skills for later in life. Published in the Journal of Education, Finance and Policy, researchers analysed the impact of a four-day week by comparing fourth and fifth grade math test scores from the Colorado Student Assessment Program (where the students enjoyed a four-day school week for a time) with those who were stuck with the traditional five-day week. Interestingly, the four-day week had a far greater impact on math scores however reading score were not affected. What we'd like to see them test, though, would be not just statistical scores on Maths or Geography but overall wellbeing and productivity.
The study found that moving to a four-day week would have no notable negative impact on academic achievement, which of course is great news for U.S. school districts desperately looking for ways of cutting costs.
"What interested me about our results is they were completely opposite to what we anticipated. We thought that especially for the younger, elementary school kids, longer days on a shorter school week would hurt their academic performance because their attention spans are shorter. Also, a longer weekend would give them more opportunity to forget what they had learned. We thought the longer days might give teachers an opportunity to use different kinds of instructional processes. We also speculated that a four-day school week lowered absenteeism, so students who had dentist's appointments or events might be able to put those off until Friday and not miss school. We thought there might be less teacher absenteeism. My own personal hypothesis is teachers liked it so much--they were so enthusiastic about the four-day week--they did a better job. There's some evidence in other labor studies that four-day work weeks enhance productivity" said Mary Beth Walker, dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State. "
So there you have it, four-day week please.