Should the School Day Start Later?
Your alarm typically goes off earlier than you’d like. That melodic, ear-splitting buzzing would be better if it weren’t blaring at the crack of dawn. Teenagers internationally are used to a schedule that their body naturally learns to develop: late to bed, late to rise; schools internationally are accustomed to having students start sometime before eight a.m. and finish before three. This schedule has been on the brink to failing and succumbing to children and parents retaliating. Is school starting early beneficial for teenagers everywhere, or only depriving?
As a student myself, I have found that starting later is what we need. Teenagers are used to waking late and sleeping late, so why deprive them of their body’s natural habits? The National Sleep Foundation conducted a recent poll regarding just how tired adolescents in this day and age just might be. The New York Times states, “The National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of children under the age of 18 complained of being tired during the day, according to their parents, and 15% said they fell asleep at school during the year.” Research in the 1990s also found that sleep and wake patterns among teenagers and all adolescents are in fact biologically determined by hormones and the dreaded word, puberty. They concluded school bells that ring as early as 7:00 a.m. stand in contrast with teens’ sleep patterns and needs. So the current school schedule might not be so helpful.
In 1999, Representative Zoe Lofgren introduced a congressional resolution called the "ZZZ's to A’s" Act that would encourage schools and districts all over the country to move school start times to no earlier than 8:30 a.m. "Over time, sleep deprivation leads to serious consequences for academic achievement, social behavior, and the health and safety of our nation's youth," the Congresswoman added. But school systems everywhere are still reluctant to take any action.
However, most school boards and some parents state that starting later would interfere with after-school sports and activities and not allow students to have ‘enough time’ to finish their homework. If the ending time is kept the same, students will still be able to participate in activities and finish their homework, while also getting the sleep they need.
Even though there has been no working movement towards changing school times, students and parents everywhere still believe a later starting time would be to most everyone’s benefit. If education systems internationally claim to care so much about their students, why not change the system so they can be happy and healthy?
"School Start Time and Sleep." School Start Time & Sleep- National Sleep Foundation. Web. 06
"Should the School Day Start Later?" The New York Times Should the School Day Start Later Comments. Web. 06 Mar. 2016.