Starting School at a Later Time

Over 42 states have reported that 75-100% public middle and highs schools start before 8:30. Over the years, there has been many discussions about school start times and the importance of what time students should be going to school. Some reasons that school should start later for middle and high schoolers are students are getting sleep deprived, their test scores, and academic performance. Then there are also others, who care more about saving money, then the well being of the students.

Since about 80% of schools start before eight in the morning, many students are ending up sleep deprived. There is a natural tendency for students to want to stay up late and sleep in during the morning. One article states,’Physicians recommend teens get at least 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Those who don’t face a number of health risks that can have serious consequences on their mental and physical well-being” (School Starts to Early). There are students who get home from school later because they are involved in sports or after school activities. Then, once they get home, most have homework and do not go to sleep until late. There are students that sleep only five to six hours every night, and it is hard for them to focus at school. In another article it states, ‘When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal in your brain is “turned on” by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night” (Melatonin and Sleep). If students do not get in the bed at a decent time to get the amount of sleep they need, then there are still things going on in your brain that make you feel like you should still be asleep.

Students test scores and academic performance can be greatly affected because of schools starting too early. Test scores are a very important component in your education and future. Not having enough sleep can impact this too, if you are still tired in the morning. Even starting school an hour later than normal, could really improve test scores. There have been many studies where they assign tests to students at their normal school arrival time and tests to students an hour or two later than normal. At a high school they tested students at their normal testing times, and then students a couple hours later. In this article it states, ‘The results indicate that a one-hour delay in start time increases standardized test scores on both math and reading tests by roughly 3 percentile points” (Do Schools Begin Too Early). These points can be very effective, especially to the students who struggle in their classes more than others. This can be a very important part of a student’s future.

Even though starting school would cost more money for the schools, it would be worth it for the kids. People also just simply think it would be harder to change the school start time after we have been doing it the same way for such a long time. One of the biggest reasons why starting school earlier has not been put in motion is the money. One article on this topic explains, saying, ‘Delaying high school start times could pose 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” (Pros and Cons of Starting School Later). This could cause a problem if elementary schools stay at their regular start time, while the middle and high schools start later. This would cost a lot more money for bus transportation, and this is the reason many schools are against this. Most schools, however, have more than enough money to afford this, but do not want to put any effort into taking this act and putting it into motion.

Starting school at a later time will affect students for the better for multiple reasons. Many people do not agree with this because they are more worried about the cost and change that will occur. If school was delayed later, then students will be more focused during the day and more likely to make better test scores.

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