Schools should Start Later

Abstract

This essay addresses the idea that schools should start later. Studies from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are used to support the claim that teenagers currently do not reach their optimal sleep time and that a later school start time will allow the students to be more rested when they arrive at school. The article by the CDC lists different consequences that can emerge from a lack of sleep to support the claim, such as obesity, an unhealthy immune system, depression, and deteriorated focus. Another source is an article about safe driving and teenage driving from the website, safetyinsurance.com. This article provided this essay with different statistics about teenage driving to support the claim that a later school start time will increase safety on the roads. The contents of this article contain proof that teenage drivers are more at risk for vehicular accidents than someone who is more experienced. The more sleep attained, the safer the roads are for students and other vehicles on the road. In addition to the points above, another essential claim to prove the necessity of schools needing to start later is the fact that later school start times increase academic performance.

This is because more sleep provides students with better focus, and the students also would not be falling asleep in class as much. An increase in academic performance is beneficial for not only the students but also the school district. According to theclassroom.com, test scores are directly linked to government funding. So, the higher the academic performance, the more funding the district will receive. Therefore, the benefits of a later school start time are innumerable and outweigh any negative consequences. Schools Should Start at a Later Time A study shows that of a reported 42 states, 75 to 100 percent of all public middle and high schools start before 8:30 in the morning (CDC, n.d.). In comparison to those that started at an earlier time, the states that are known for having a later start time have higher academic achievements, and a better quality of life for their students. Schools should start at a later time because teenagers are suffering from a lack of sleep, they are more at risk for distracted driving, and a later start time would increase students’ academic achievements and performance.

Literature Review

The first article “Schools Start Too Early,” is an article about how a later school time will improve the students’ overall health. They used information acquired by the American Academy of Pediatrics to support their claims that schools should start after 8:30 in the morning to ensure the welfare of each student. Overall, this article is beneficial in supporting the argument that public schools should start later. In another article mentioned, teenage driving is the topic of discussion. In “Tips and Statistics,” an article was written on safetyinsurance.com, the statistics of teenage driving was presented as an argument that the later the school start time, then the more sleep teenagers can obtain, and the safer the roads will be for everyone. Lastly, in the final article used, “Do Standardized Tests Scores Factor in to How Much Money a School Will Receive,” there is evidence demonstrated that showed that each schools’ test scores factored into how much government funding they received. In the article on classroom.org, they evaluated records of funding from the government to schools.

They found that schools should start later because it increased focus and academic performance which increased government funding. The higher the school funding, the more opportunities that go into the students. Discussion The optimal sleep time for teenagers is around nine hours and 25 minutes (CDC, n.d.). When that optimal amount of sleep is not reached, there are significant negativities that are involved. A lack of sleep for teenagers can cause juvenile obesity, a decrease in a healthy immune system, a deteriorated focus, depression, and various other consequences (CDC, n.d.). Each of these situations can be detrimental to the health of students, at the cost of an earlier start time in schools. For example, an absence of focus and depression can decrease academic performance to the point where the school is nearly worthless.

Obesity and a weak immune system will cause a decline in school attendance which has a direct influence on government funding to the school which will only hurt the students’ ability to learn in the long run. An insufficient amount of sleep can cause not only harm to the student, but also for the school system as well. Vehicular accidents are the number one cause of death of Americans, accounting for 48.5 percent of all deaths, followed by homicide which is only 15.2 percent of all deaths (Tips and Statistics, n.d.). Of the car accidents in the last ten years, nearly 70,000 teenagers died. In a study done by livescience.com, it was found that 9.4 percent of teenagers who were involved in car accidents received less than the recommended hours of sleep. In contrast, of those who received the optimal amount of sleep, only 6.9 percent were involved in a car accident (Rettner, 2013).

The statistics prove that a lack of sleep can be a direct cause in accidents involving teenagers, and the earlier schools start, the less sleep that teenagers are getting. Later start times at schools would decrease the number of accidents that teenagers are involved in on the way to school and on the way home after school, practices, or games. A decrease in accidents would occur because students will be less tired by the end of the day. Students attaining more sleep the night before they go to school will have a substantial, positive impact on the amount of energy of which they have all day. When schools start earlier, and students sleep less, academic success is the central aspect that suffers.

If schools started later, and students have enough sleep from the night before, they are less likely to fall asleep in one of their classes. This would mean that the students would be able to achieve and retain more information than they can at an earlier start time which would increase overall test scores for the school. This is important because in most states the government funding is directly linked to the overall test scores of the school or school district. According to the website, theclassroom.com, schools who do not administer annual standardized tests could lose some of their government funding (Thompson, 2019). The school district has much to lose when it comes to their students and their focus. When students are well rested, and their immune systems are healthy, attendance will consequently rise. By improving student attendance, the students should improve their test scores and allow the school district to receive more money from the government. On the other side of the argument, earlier start times would be beneficial for many reasons.

One of the reasons it would be beneficial is because it allows more time after school for homework, tutoring, work, sports, and other activities. Also, it helps athletes not miss as many classes. If one school district shifted their times in order for the team to travel to earlier starting away games, they would be required to leave school and miss more classes than they would if the start time of the districts were equal (Anderson, 2017). Another reason that an early start time would be the best idea is because of the parents. For some parents, they need the schools to start earlier than their work starts so that they can take their children to school (Anderson, 2017). If schools started later, more kids would be required to ride the bus because they would not have a ride to school, and many parents are not comfortable with that. Overall, an earlier start time would be more beneficial for specific groups including the parents and student-athletes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, schools need to start at an earlier time than many already do. This would benefit students, parents, teachers, and the school or school district. It would benefit students by allowing them to achieve enough sleep and allow them to receive the education that they deserve. It would benefit the parents because it would allow them to have healthier, happier children who excel at school. It would benefit the teachers by providing students who are ready and able to pay attention in the classroom so that they are not just talking to themselves and their job means something more as opposed to if the school started early. It would benefit the school or school district because as test scores and attendance rise, they will receive more funding to improve the school or schools. The later that schools start, the more numerous the benefits are for everyone involved.

References

  1. Anderson, M. (2017, March 31). What Is the Advantage of Having School Start Early?
  2. Retrieved from https://classroom.synonym.com/advantage-having-school-start-early-4526.html Rettner, R. (2013, May 20).
  3. Sleep-Deprived Teen Drivers More Likely to Crash. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/34520-young-drivers-sleep-car-crashes.html Schools Start Too Early | Features | CDC. (n.d.).
  4. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/school-start-times/index.html Tips and Statistics. (n.d.).
  5. Retrieved from https://www.safetyinsurance.com/driversafety/tips_statistics.html Thompson, V. (2019, January 10). Do Standardized Test Scores Factor in to How Much Money a School Will Receive?
  6. Retrieved from https://www.theclassroom.com/standardized-test-scores-factor-much-money-school-receive-25534.html
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