We all know that lots of high school students think school should start later. Lots of high schools start before 8 AM, and students think this should change. They tell that it is harder to wake up early and that they are depressed. Some people argue that we should not change start times. They argue that it will lose money, and miss after-school activities. New research could suggest otherwise.
High school should start later because it can reduce depression, increase alertness and readiness, and save schools lots of money. One reason high schools should start later is because of the mental health effects that it imposes to students. According to FOX NEWS, 40% of high schools open before 8 AM, and first period attendance was as low as 50% (FOX NEWS 1). When high schools started later, there were lower rates of depression, and there was increased alertness and readiness (Michelle Trudeau 1). These facts show pushing high school start times back might not be a bad idea.
Some people will argue that pushing back high school start times will cost more money. They argue that more buses will have to be put into operation. They also say that a later start time will entail the school day ending later, causing student athletes and performers from getting home for dinner, and students who have jobs not being able to make their shift. According to NPR, Day Rosene, the community relations director for West Des Moines School District, tells them that it saved money to switch to a later start time.
How much money did this switch save? $700,000. Rosene also said that the savings “meant that other potential cuts in programming or curriculum offerings would not occur.” (Michelle Trudeau 1) Superintendent Mark Wolak at the Mahtomedi School District also tells that he thought a later starting time would make school end later, but he tells of a solution his school district found. If the delay between classes was shortened, the school day would end on time, and prevented high-schoolers from missing jobs or sport practice (Michelle Trudeau 1).
Another reason why high schools should start later is because of the disturbance of the body’s sleep cycle. A teenager, especially when going through puberty, is not “wired” to wake up so early. Research has shown that the average teenager does not become sleepy until around 10:45 PM, and sleeps for about 9 hours, waking around 8 AM. Kyla Wahlstrom, director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, part of the University of Minnesota, says, “It’s a factor of human biology that studies have replicated in Brazil, Italy, Israel and Korea,” she adds, “All have found identical sleep-wake patterns in teenagers. It’s a human phenomenon, not geared to any culture,” (FOX NEWS 1).
In conclusion, high schools should start later in the day. High school aged students bodies and minds are not prepared to start that early in the day. If we continue to start schools early, depression rates will go up, alertness, readiness, and school attendance will drop, and will have a negative impact on society. Opposing sides say that this will cost them money, when it actually save money. They also argue that this will make the school day start later, but school districts have kept the same ending time.
All the research indicates that high schools should start later. High School principals and superintendents should make an effort to start their schools later.