School Start Times: do they Need to Change?

 “Just five more minutes!” is something almost every parent hears on a daily basis trying to wake their kids up for school. Everyone dreads getting up early, but it is something we all have to do in order to get a good education. Many schools have thought about delaying their start times to allow teens to get the amount of sleep they need to grow and function throughout long school days. It sounds like a good idea, except for when you think about the effects a delayed school schedule would have on students and activities.

Although delayed school start times would benefit the health of teens, school start times should not start later because it would affect schedules throughout school districts and it may not benefit teens. School should not start later because it affects schedules throughout school districts. According to “Delaying School Start Times” by the National Sleep Foundation, many families with kids in school have a routine they complete daily. This might be the key to a stable household, but when school starts at a different time, it can completely throw this schedule off. This article says, “Most families have a highly coordinated schedule worked out to balance the many activities of each of its members.

The thought of reworking this delicate balance can be intimidating. Many parents have a hard time looking beyond this personal disadvantage to the benefits that will result” (“Delaying School Start Times”). Based on this evidence, the reader can conclude that changing the time school starts at can completely throw off families, after and before school schedules. This also affects kids who have sports after school. Many kids already have trouble balancing sports and homework, and when school gets out later, that means there is less time for homework after school. Most kids do not want to wake up early to do homework, so starting school later would mean less homework being done. Not only would school starting later mess up routines at home, but it would also mean most students’ school schedules would have to be adjusted too. In addition to starting school later messing with routines and schedules throughout the school districts, but it would also affect bus schedules and cause schools throughout districts to crumble. Starting school later could possibly cause “…problems with bus schedules, after-school activities, and sporting events for the entire district.

Changing the high school start time could have a domino effect on all the schools that could pose a logistical nightmare” (Morin). Not only is it a hassle to change what time the bus picks up kids from school, but if kids get out of school later, when buses drive kids home, it might be around rush hour, making it even harder for buses to get to their stops. It is already hard enough to leave jam-packed schools filled with kids who are eager to leave. With multiple schools at different levels, it can already be chaotic with picking up kids from different schools, but changing the schedule would create a disaster. Taking the bus to school can already be costly at “…$575 a year per child…” (Bergal). When schools have to change bus schedules, it could cost even more, which not many parents would be too excited about.

Overall, changing school start times would ruin routines throughout school districts. School should not start later because going through all the trouble may not be worth it if starting school later does not benefit teens. As described in the article “The Pros and Cons of Starting School Later,” some kids would just neglect the opportunity to get more sleep and just stay up later because they know they can sleep in. One of the big reasons why schools have not introduced delayed school start times is because “Teens may stay up even later if they do not have to wake for school at an earlier time” (Morin).

Based on this evidence, readers can conclude that some kids would just see school starting later as another way to stay up longer, rather than going to bed at a usual time and sleeping in longer. If more kids are tired at school, they would be more likely to do poorly on their work. Since kids do not have much time after school to complete homework, they might have to stay up even later to complete it, which would add to teens not getting enough sleep. Teens might have to rely on coffee and other sources of caffeine to solve these problems which are doing anything good for their health. However, some teens do not even want school to start later. Many “Students may not be clamoring for this change” (“Delaying School Start Times”). Although it seems like kids would give anything for 10 more minutes of sleep in the morning, a lot of kids like their schedules and their school routines. For some kids, it can be hard to start a new school year, even when going to the same school for many years, but throwing in a completely new school start time can make these big transitions even harder.

Some kids hate changing semesters, so changing the time school starts at could cause more stress than it is intended to. In summary, it would be inefficient to delay school start times if it would not benefit teens Some people may think that starting school later could benefit teens’ health. By having schools start later, teens can rely less on caffeine and perform better in school. Studies show that “Teens may be less likely to depend on caffeine to stay awake during the day” (Morin). When teens and adults are tired, they usually reach for coffee as their number one source for energy. It tastes good and keeps you awake so what could go wrong? Coffee becomes very bad for you if you have it too often, which is not good for teens. The more sleep teens get, the less tired they are and the less coffee and caffeine they have to consume, leading to fewer health issues down the road for teens. In addition to later school start times reducing the amount of caffeine and coffee tens consume daily, but it also leads to better performances in school. As shown on the Time website on a video mentioning, “If students wake up later in the morning, they will be more focused during the day… more alert behind the wheel and less likely to be absent from school.”

One of the main reasons why kids have trouble paying attention in class is because they are tired from not getting enough sleep the night before. As classes get harder as you grow up, it can be stressful just to miss one class period, but not knowing what is going on in every class because you can’t focus can be another reason why teens cannot sleep at night, rather than other silly things keeping teens awake. Not only do classes get harder as you grow up, but soon college comes into the picture and in order to end up successful in life with a good job, passing high school with good grades is very important. Teens getting a good amount of sleep every night is important for their health and grades. Although, the effect changing school start times would have on activities and schedules would not be worth it just for students to be able to get a half hour more of sleep. As the years progress, more and more kids have been found to have anxiety, especially surrounding school.

Changing school start times only contribute to this stress, completely going against helping teens’ health by delaying school start times. Anxiety can make it even harder for kids to learn and focus. Schools should not start later because it reduces this anxiety and it allows kids to stay comfortable in their routines. Although these later school days sound like a good idea, they still mess up schedules and they may not help teens after all the effort it takes. Is a little bit of extra sleep for teens really worth all the money and time it takes to adjust these schedules? Money and time used for adjusting school schedules for teens to get more sleep could be put at better use, like finding better teachers and curriculums for students that would be more effective than getting an extra half hour of sleep in the morning. Keeping the same school start times would be a better alternative over delaying start times and ruining schedules through states and towns.

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