Ever wonder why school starts so early? (Hint: $$$)
Ever wonder why school starts so early? (Hint: $$$) (ThinkStock)
Ever wonder why school starts so early? (Hint: $$$)
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Pediatricians have a new prescription for schools: later start times for teens.

Delaying the start of the school day until at least 8:30 a.m. would help curb their lack of sleep, which has been linked with poor health, bad grades, car crashes and other problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in a new policy.

The influential group says teens are especially at risk; for them, "chronic sleep loss has increasingly become the norm."

Studies have found that most U.S. students in middle school and high school don't get the recommended amount of sleep 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours on school nights; and that most high school seniors get an average of less than seven hours.

More than 40 percent of the nation's public high schools start classes before 8 a.m., according to government data cited in the policy. And even when the buzzer rings at 8 a.m., school bus pickup times typically mean kids have to get up before dawn if they want that ride.

"The issue is really cost," said Kristen Amundson, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education.

School buses often make multiple runs each morning for older and younger students. Adding bus drivers and rerouting buses is one of the biggest financial obstacles to later start times, Amundson said. The roughly 80 school districts that have adopted later times tend to be smaller, she said.

After-school sports are another often-cited obstacle because a later dismissal delays practices and games. The shift may also cut into time for homework and after-school jobs, Amundson said.

The policy, aimed at middle schools and high schools, was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The policy cites studies showing that delaying start times can lead to more nighttime sleep and improve students' motivation in class and mood. Whether there are broader, long-term benefits requires more research, the policy says.

Many administrators support the idea but haven't resolved the challenges, said Amundson. She said the pediatricians' new policy likely will have some influence.

Parents seeking a change "will come now armed with this report," Amundson said.

Critical thinking challenge: How could schools overcome the obstacle of cost?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/ever-wonder-why-school-starts-so-early-hint/

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COMMENTS (28)
  • LTatyana-Cas
    9/13/2014 - 08:19 p.m.

    In my opionion I think school should start later because students would get higher test scores for not trying to cram everything they studied for only a couple hours so they get good nights rest. I also believe with school starting later kids will come to school on time and won't miss a day just because they slept in.

  • shannons-Koc
    9/14/2014 - 04:09 p.m.

    I've always questioned why school has to start so early. There are many studies showing that young adults need their sleep in order to develop and be able to focus through out the day. This as been a known fact for quite some time but nothing has change. I now understand the reasoning behind it. I honestly believe it would be worth changing the times of bus routes and school times. In the long run students will learn to cope with their daily lives and get at least 8 hours of sleep. As of right now growing up and facing reality is rough. It only makes it worse when you have to get your day started early when you know its going to be a long night.

  • shannons-Koc
    9/14/2014 - 04:10 p.m.

    I've always questioned why school has to start so early. There are many studies showing that young adults need their sleep in order to develop and be able to focus through out the day. This as been a known fact for quite some time but nothing has change. I now understand the reasoning behind it. I honestly believe it would be worth changing the times of bus routes and school times. In the long run students will learn to cope with their daily lives and get at least 8 hours of sleep. As of right now growing up and facing reality is rough. It only makes it worse when you have to get your day started early when you know its going to be a long night.

  • AllisonLogan1
    9/15/2014 - 07:02 p.m.

    People are wanting their kids to start school at 8 a.m. so they can have more sleep. A good thing about this would be that teens will be awake during school and get more done. A bad thing would be that kids would have to find another way to get to the bus because their parents would already be gone to work. A interesting thing is that parents are actually trying to make this happen.

  • Juliahe-Fre
    9/29/2014 - 01:08 p.m.

    This article is totally true. I get about 6 hours of sleep because all I do at home is clean and help with my family. We never have time for homework, and usually stay up till 12 o'clock trying to do it! Schools can easily ask for volunteers to pick us up and drop us off. I'm sure someone generous enough could help. Teens like us need sleep. 6 hours is not enough. I try to get perfect attendance but I'm always late because I over sleep!

  • JaredKb2
    10/09/2014 - 10:45 a.m.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new policy, starting school later at least an hour and a half would help decrease students lack of sleep. Most teenagers get less the recommended hours of sleep, the result of this may be the poor health, bad grades, car crashes and other problems. Why are schools still starting earlier? Schools have trouble getting their hands on the funds that would pay for buses and bus drivers for later morning hours. For the schools to start to begin earlier there needs to be a strong effort in accumulating money for the bus situation. Starting later may also interfere with after school jobs and or activities.

  • jadziah2001
    10/21/2014 - 11:55 a.m.

    I do like school but i do almost fall asleep in 5th and 6th periods because I'm tired they need to start school like people do at there jobs 9;00 to 5:00 so people wont get tired at school, fall asleep and fail because they are tired.

  • kyleigh21
    10/21/2014 - 12:08 p.m.

    In this article people showed how teens have been losing sleep form waking up at 8:00. More than 40% of the national public schools start before 8 a.m. The school buses make many runs to pick up different age groups early in the. They should not make kid wake up this early in the morning and let them get more sleep and there studies might skyrocket.

  • tcp
    10/21/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    The main idea of this story is for student to get more sleep at home and to go to bed earlier . Students are sleeping in class.Usually middle school and high school students get 9 hours of sleep
    ,but kids are staying up later than they should.They can't finish there school work .JUST GO TO BED!!!!

  • Loganw-Lam
    10/22/2014 - 10:28 a.m.

    I completely agree with this article. The statistics make sense because I have experienced some of them myself. I think that school should start later because kids our age are barely getting enough time to squeeze in their homework in between family things and after-school programs. Also, in my opinion, I don't think it"s necessary to have to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning just to sit in different rooms for seven hours. I think that making school start later wouldn't hurt anything.

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