- Education and Science
Studies Show High Schools Need to Start Later
Most high schools and Jr. high schools in the U.S., begin at the universal time of 8 a.m. What that means in reality is, the teen is up by 7 a.m. at the latest, and more likely, it is 6:30 a.m. ESPECIALLY for teen girls (I know!).
According to medical studies, teens usually crash by 11 p.m., any sooner, and they are not sleeping. Many are not in bed before midnight. Doctors all agree that a teen needs between 8 to 9 hours of sleep. The studies showed big improvements in a teen's ability to concentrate and focus when they get those hours. One study showed that teen drivers suffered 70% fewer car accidents if school started at 8:30-9 a.m., because they have more sleep time. Studies show that unlike the parents who are ready for bed by 10 p.m., their teen kids are still running on octane for another hour or so. Much of this is caused by electronic devices when used just before bed. Just try enforcing that rule!Ha!
One study done by the University of Minnesota of 9000 HS students in multiple schools in three states where start times were moved from 8 to 9 a.m. The researchers compared attendance, academic performance, mental health, and car accidents before and after these start times. In every category, improvements by 50% were common.
Many teens study until midnight or 1 a.m., these are usually the honor students, but when they have to get up at 6:30 a.m. to catch a ride at 7:30 a.m. to get to school by 8. fatigue and accidents will occur.
While the argument is not rocket science and is common sense, only 15% of the American schools start at 8:30 a.m., and 42% begin before 8.am. School districts can easily alter the start times to 8:30 and go until 3:30 p.m. It would help the teens and parents with a later pickup time afterwards. Most jobs do not end at 3 p.m., a typical time when HS is out. The Achilles heel with having school age kids is getting them to and back from school. The school times do not help working parents and creates additional worry and stress. A great time for schools would be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but very few schools have this.
The school system is basically inconsiderate towards families. It's time for a change.