Schools Start Too Early, Federal Officials Say
The majority of U. S. middle and high schools start their school days too early, not letting young people get enough sleep for development and academic success, a new federal report says.
A new report published by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday shows that fewer than one in five middle and high schools in the U. S. start at the recommended 8:30 a. m. start time or later. That start time was recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, based on research showing that in the morning, young people need more time to sleep in for their health. The new data come from a review of surveys of about 40,000 middle, high, and combined public schools in the U. S. during the 2011–12 school year.
The new report shows that in 42 states, 75% to 100% of public schools started before 8:30 a. m. The average school start time is 8:03 a. m. Louisiana had the earliest start time at 7:40 a. m., and Alaska had the latest start time at 8:33 a. m.
Starting school times later allows students to get the optimal amount of sleep, which is around 8.5 to 9.5 hours. Data suggest that two out of three high school students sleep less than 8 hours a night. Lack of sleep can lead to a cascade of health issues like higher body weight, lower academic performance and a greater likelihood for substance abuse, medical experts say.
As TIME has previously reported, both medical experts and the current U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan support changing school start times.“It’s completely a local decision, but I’d like to see more school districts at least consider delaying start times,” Duncan recently told TIME. “A later start to the school day could help boost students’ academic performance and reduce tardiness and absenteeism. Our common sense tells us that sleepy students don’t do well in school, but the research also exists to back it up. Studies show that when students are rested, they are more alert and ready to learn.”
Delaying school start times can be a difficult task for many schools, and the move often receives significant pushback from people worried about how it will affect after-school activities. However, some schools that have made the switch have seen positive results. For instance, a 2014 University of Minnesota study showed that in high schools that started at 8:30 a. m. or later, 60% of their students got at least eight hours of sleep every night. Teenagers who slept less than that reported more emotional and behavioral issues.
Though it’s not simple to change a school start time, researchers say it can be worth it. “Educating parents and school system decision-makers about the impact of sleep deprivation on adolescent health and academic performance might lead to adoption of later start times,” the study authors conclude.
Persuasive Essay 1 Why school should start later: Rough Draft
Get up at 6:30, shower, get dressed, eat , brush teeth, go to school. I never want to get up in the morning and I’m pretty sure a lot of other people would agree. Why does school start early? In my opinion school would be about 5 times better if it started. School isn’t really bad at all. Its just the fact that I have to get up early that makes going to school depressing. Making school start later will allow kids to get more sleep, students wouldn’t have to rush at night when doing work and it could possibly be safer for kids and more convenient for parents. I think almost all students would agree that school should start later.
First, and in my opinion the best the best reason, kids will get more sleep. I am pretty sure everyone loves sleep. Kids my age are supposed to be getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night but most kids are receiving less than 7 hours. This is due to staying up later for homework and other activities. It is proven that more sleep will improve focus and academic performance. If school started later it would let kids get more sleep and do better on assignments in class. It is just too early for the average mind of a kid to operate. Also students might be more motivated and have better attitudes. See what could happen if school started later?
Furthermore, making school start later might be safer and/or more convenient for students and their parents. Most students are allowed to go home after school and be there by themselves for a few hours until our parents get home. Some of us kids don’t know how to handle large/bad situation. Something could easily go wrong within those few hours we are at home, but if we get out of school later we would be getting home closer to the time our parents get home. So later start times could be safer for some students. Also it could be more convenient for parents because if students get out later parents might not have to arrange a bunch of places for their children to go after school. Safer and more convenient. Those are good reasons right?
Lastly, if school starts and ends earlier loads of work at night will not be such a hassle. When I get home after school and after my other activities it is about 7:00 p. m. I always feel as if am in a rush. I already get plenty of homework in the first place then on top of that I feel like I have to hurry up and finish so I can get a good night sleep. If school starts later I won’t have to rush as much. If I get home around 7:00 p. m. get done with my homework at whatever time and I will probably still get a good amount of sleep. Even if I went to sleep at midnight and then school starts around 9:00 I’ll still get a good amount of sleep because I am waking up around 8:00! Lots of homework wouldn’t be such a bother.
See, there are many positive things that could happen if school started later. Kids would get more sleep, it could be safer and more convenient and students might not have to rush at night when they do work. So why shouldn’t school start later? Really, why?
Persuasive Essay 1 Why school should start later: Rough Draft
School Starts Too Early
The later high school classes start in the morning, the more academic performance improves
- By Mark Fischetti on September 1, 2014
Parents, students and teachers often argue, with little evidence, about whether U. S. high schools begin too early in the morning. In the past three years, however, scientific studies have piled up, and they all lead to the same conclusion: a later start time improves learning. And the later the start, the better.
Biological research shows that circadian rhythms shift during the teen years, pushing boys and girls to stay up later at night and sleep later into the morning. The phase shift, driven by a change in melatonin in the brain, begins around age 13, gets stronger by ages 15 and 16, and peaks at ages 17, 18 or 19.
Does that affect learning? It does, according to Kyla Wahlstrom, director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota. She published a large study in February that tracked more than 9,000 students in eight public high schools in Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming. After one semester, when school began at 8:35 a. m. or later, grades earned in math, English, science and social studies typically rose a quarter step—for example, up halfway from B to B+.
Two journal articles that Wahlstrom has reviewed but have not yet been published reach similar conclusions. So did a controlled experiment completed by the U. S. Air Force Academy, which required different sets of cadets to begin at different times during their freshman year. A 2012 study of North Carolina school districts that varied school times because of transportation problems showed that later start times correlated with higher scores in math and reading. Still other studies indicate that delaying start times raises attendance, lowers depression rates and reduces car crashes among teens, all because they are getting more of the extra sleep they need.
And the later the delay, the greater the payoff. In various studies, school districts that shifted from 7:30 to 8:00 a. m. saw more benefits than those that shifted from 7:15 to 7:45 a. m. Studies in Brazil, Italy and Israel showed similar improvements in grades. The key is allowing teens to get at least eight hours of sleep, preferably nine. In Europe, it is rare for high school to start before 9:00 a. m.
Studies also show that common arguments against later start times ring hollow. In hundreds of districts that have made the change, students do not have a harder time fitting in after-school activities such as sports or in keeping part-time jobs. “Once these school districts change, they don’t want to go back,” Wahlstrom says.
Even “the bus issue” can work out for everyone. Many districts bus kids to high school first, then rerun the routes for the elementary schools. Flipping the order would bring high schoolers to class later and benefit their little sisters and brothers; other studies show that young children are more awake and more ready to learn earlier in the morning.
This article was originally published with the title «Sleeping through High School»