Let Us Sleep!
June 1, 2016
Filed under Op/Ed
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School start time is often a topic of controversial discussion. There are certain school-related activities that would start at later times in conjunction with a later school time. However, this would be preferable when considering the school-wide improvements that would follow a later school start time.
Although some argue that athletic activities may suffer detrimental changes regarding the time length of regular practices, this would only affect students who are involved in sports. Starting school at 8:00 would be preferable for Wayne Valley, and would not heavily affect sports practices. Practices would run only 30-40 minutes later, and students would still be able to enjoy the effects of a later start time.
If students are allowed to sleep longer, a result of a later start time, they would be more attentive, not only in class, but also on the road. In his New York Times article “Schools are Slow to Learn that Sleep Deprivation Hits Teenagers Hardest,” pediatrician Dr. Aaron Carroll claims, “the number of car crashes by drivers 16 to 18 was reduced by 70 percent when school start times were changed from 7:35 to 8:55.”
National and State standardized testing also improved with later start times. With more sleep, students can be more attentive and approach their studies with the enthusiasm and effort that is impossible with an early start time.
An 8:00 start time will allow teens to still have enough time for after-school activities and jobs, both of which can improve a student’s college resume. After all, isn’t high school supposed to prepare students for college? Also, there would a lesser need for tutoring if students attend school later. Students would be more studious and be able to grasp information with a more attentive brain.
Students are often troubled by sleep deprivation (an actual form of torture for obvious reasons). In the article “Students, Officials Weigh Pros and Cons of School Start Times,” Dr. John Rodrigues explains that many studies have been conducted to find the cause of this, and that some say it could be cultural pressures. This includes the pressures of school and student competition.
The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has even said that teens would benefit from a later start because they would be able to concentrate, and therefore learn more. Duncan is practically the head of the United States education system. If he feels that American schools would benefit from a later start time, it’s clear that he knows what he’s talking about. But if you don’t really want to accept that (for whatever reason) just ask a high school student who’s experiencing the negative impact of an early school time.