Should School Start at a Later Time?
By, Abby Meron & Emily Tian
A common issue talked about among high school students, their parents, faculty, and school district administrators is what time school should start. It is evident that there are many benefits to school starting later. Studies depict that kids who receive a full 8 hours of sleep are more attentive, have a better memory, and their physical and mental health are both significantly improved. With the full and rigorous schedules kids have, most of the time starting homework and studying gets put off until later in the day. This causes students to stay up late finishing their school work, and not being able to get the necessary amount of sleep they need to properly learn in classes and interact with others.
A later start time would mean better focus in class and less stress for students with many responsibilities. From my personal experience of struggling to get up every morning for school, I can tell you how much better it feels to have time to relax and wake up in the morning. I always feel like I perform better in school and feel more energized on days where there is a later start time or if I got a lot of sleep the night before.
Picture this: you stay up studying all night for a math test you have the next day, but only get six hours of sleep. You know everything you need to know for the test, but now you are tired and have a harder time focusing on the details. What is the point of studying so much if the early school start time will affect your performance anyway? As you can see, it is very important that students are able to study and get the most amount of sleep they need to be motivated to perform their best in school. I believe that a later start time would benefit students in a positive way and will have a large effect on both students’ health as well as the way students learn and view the school experience.
With most US high schools starting at 8 am, students tend to have a hard time waking up in the morning. This has led many students to advocate for later start times, however, they fail to recognize the negative impacts that it could bring to the school system and a student’s entire environment. Although a later start time seems more appealing to many students, it actually creates a variety of burdensome conflicts.
One big concern about changing start times would be the difficulty it would create for a parent’s work schedule. With school starting early in the morning, it gives parents a chance to drive their kids to school or see them off on the bus. This is even more important with younger children, as they need adult supervision in order to prepare for school. While this change in time may be easy for some families to adjust to, other parents who have stricter schedules would not have the luxury of delaying the start of their workday. As a result, many students would still have to wake up earlier in order to be dropped off by their parents.
Another concern about these later start times would be their effect on a student’s sports and extracurricular schedules. Students who participate in after-school activities would have to push these times to later in the day, making it even more difficult to complete their school assignments. Particularly since extracurriculars play such an important role in students’ lives today, it is crucial that a student learns to participate and interact in these activities. Many students in our school even stated that they “normally don’t get home until 9 or 10” making it really hard to complete all their schoolwork afterward. Now you can imagine what this would be like if the school day was pushed back another hour! Students would barely have enough time to do any of their school work let alone have any free time. Not only does this create a habit of staying up late, but ultimately would lead to more stress for students who already struggle with managing their time.
Our school would also be affected in many ways, including our bus transportation system. Many schools including Blind Brook would have to hire more bus drivers and purchase more school buses. This is because many schools use the same buses to pick up their elementary, middle, and high school students. However, with start times changing, it would disorganize the school bus system, thus requiring more buses and drivers. This would result in school districts spending more money on transportation, taking away money that could be used for more important school activities. This spending can make a significant difference in the long run. Without the money that a school needs, activities such as clubs, sports, and field trips wouldn’t be able to run. Loss of funding would seriously affect many students’ lives, as they will start missing important educational experiences.
As this topic continues to be debated, it is important to consider the interests of not just the students, but of their environment as well. It is important to recognize the long-term effects of changing our start times and how difficult it would be to successfully implement this major change. Moving the start of school back is not worth the disastrous effects it could have on students, and their parents’ lives.