Should School Start Later In The Morning?

New study cites "clear benefits for students whose high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later."

By Ryan Bonner

If we do one thing to give our teenagers better mental health, better test scores and keep them safer from car crashes — shouldn't we do it? 

Maybe we can. A new study from the University of Minnesota says all this and more are "clear benefits for students whose high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later."

"This would include, for teens who reported they got at least 8 hours of sleep per night, that they were more likely to say they have good overall health and were less likely to report being depressed or using caffeine and other substances (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, other drugs," the study concludes. "Other positive findings include a significant reduction in local car crashes, less absenteeism, less tardiness, as well as higher test scores on national achievement tests." 

And in fact, school districts across the country have pushed back high school opening times in the face of growing evidence of the benefits of later start times for students. 

Long Island, N.Y. is home to the 14th national chapter of "Start School Later," a nonprofit organization "of health professionals, sleep scientists, educators, parents, students, and other concerned citizens working to ensure that all public schools can set hours compatible with health, safety, equity, and learning." 

Not everyone is in favor of a later school day start, however. The New York Times reported that many parents, and some students object, saying a later start "makes sports practices end late, jeopardizes student jobs, bites into time for homework and extracurricular activities, and upsets the morning routine for working parents and younger children." 

Read the full University of Minnesota study and then let us know what you think. Should Long Island high schools open later? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Susan March 25, 2014 at 02:45 PM
@ Barb Why does your son need 50 minutes to get ready in the morning?
MEZRMOM March 25, 2014 at 05:28 PM
And just what will they tell a boss (if they ever decide to WORK)? Sorry but 7AM is just too early for me? Good luck with that. Welcome to the real world...
Bottom Line March 26, 2014 at 01:11 AM
Lyle continues to forward the dumbing down of America, as does this offering. He is of the belief that individuals, and specifically minorities, are incapable of appreciating success due to his measure. So he forwards policies and suggests legislation that forwards his continued dominance of minorities. He is unwilling to admit that his liberal conditioning ensures his dominance over minorities ... which is his agenda. The issue here has to do with establishing discipline for our youth. It would be to their benefit if we overlook the liberal social conditioning, and the analytic that supports it ... the real world suffers no such mirage, and success necessarily begs that individuals respect that reality.
Bottom Line March 26, 2014 at 01:16 AM
.... unless we are left to rely on Obamaeverythingforeverybodyregardlessoftheexpenseorresultingconditioninsociety.
de anne March 26, 2014 at 06:24 AM
Susan...the hair...its all about the hair!


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