Changing school start time pro’s and con’s

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Author of the article Wisteria

By: Wisteria Liberty

How moving the time schools start to 8:30am could have profound benefits:

“Given that the primary focus of education is to maximize human potential, then a new task before us is to ensure that the conditions in which learning takes place address the very biology of our learners.” -Mary A. Carskadon

Pros: 

  • Waking up early to get to school on time is conflicting with teenagers natural sleep cycle, which is a major contributing factor to sleep deprivation, “…sleep deprivation impairs their [teenagers] ability to be alert, pay attention, solve problems, cope with stress and retain information.”
  • The National Sleep Foundation said that when adolescents don’t get enough sleep they can experience a multitude of health and social problems including “…irritability, depression, poor impulse control and violence; health complaints; tobacco and alcohol use; impaired cognitive function and decision-making; and lower overall performance in everything from academics to athletics.”
  • Test scores are higher in schools that start later in the morning.
  • Students who receive enough sleep each night have a reduced risk of obesity. There are also fewer eating disorders associated with a later start time to the school day.

Cons: 

  • Bus schedule is messed up
  • A later start means kids have less free time in the afternoon.
  • An early start time will force children to walk to their bus stop in the dark.
  • It may not benefit the working schedule of some parents.
  • Would have to change the schedule of most schools in the United States

Research suggests that a later start time is the better option, but that schedule conflicts with the career requirements of many parents. These are the reasons why this debate has waged on for over 30 years.

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