Should School Start Later? Pros and Cons
February 2, 2018
For the past few years experts have been arguing over a common dispute: should schools push back their start times to better align the school day with the needs of the teenage brain?
State College High recently announced that they will move their start time up to 8:40 am, partly because of research that suggests a later start time is associated with better academic outcomes for teenagers.
Should Tyrone follow their lead or stand their ground?
Read some of the pros and cons below. Opinions are welcome in the comments.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, insufficient sleep in adolescence affects their health and safety as well as their academic success. On average, a teenager between the ages 13 and 18 needs 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night to develop and grow. Most teens only get 7 ¼ hours of sleep per night.
Most schools start at or before 8 am. If schools start too early in the morning, the lack of sleep could affect student’s performance. Studies performed by Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom showed that schools who start later in the day have improved over 9,000 students academic success.
“Usually I get about seven hours of sleep depending on how much homework I have. I believe that if school started later I would be to school on time because I was able to get more sleep,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Plummer.
“I think it would be helpful if schools started later in the day. When I get more sleep, I feel like I can think more clearly,” said sophomore Michael Stoner.
Teenagers biologically have problems falling asleep early. According to the National Sleep Foundation, due to the delay in melatonin in a teenagers brain, they have a lacking of “sleep drive” in response to fatigue.
“Sometimes I physically can’t fall asleep until around 2:00 in the morning. I try to fall asleep earlier, but I just lay there,” said senior Asher Christine.
State College Area School District recently announced that they will start school next year at 8:40 am for the high school students. According to a press release on State College, The later start will better align with adolescent sleep patterns, helping students be more alert and engaged during morning classes.
According to academics from Surrey University and Harvard Medical School, delaying school times would simply cause most teenager’s internal clocks to drift later, and in a few weeks, they would find it just as hard to get out of bed.
While almost every student we talked to would love to sleep in, not everyone was for a later school day.
“I don’t want (school) to start later because we would either be there longer or would have to add more days at the end of the year,” said junior Anna Beck.
If schools started later in the day, then after school activities would run later. For some, this isn’t convenient.
“I think school should start at the same time or maybe even earlier because students would have more free time in the afternoon. Basketball practices would run too late if school started later in the day,” said senior Emily Lehman.
For example, varsity basketball practices usually run from 4-6pm. If school were to start at 10:00 am, it would be necessary to move practices from 6-8pm. Thus leaving the students at school all day and unable to see their families, or work a part-time job, in the evening.
Also, students who have to watch their younger siblings after school wouldn’t be able to due to high school ending later in the day. According to a study conducted by research students at Northwestern University, an estimated 13-17% of kids who are between the ages of 13-19 babysit their younger siblings after school.
“I usually watch my brother Alex after school from 3-5 until my parents get home. If high school started later I wouldn’t be able to make sure he does what he is supposed to do,” said junior Sara Shock.