When you were in high school, were you one of those hapless souls who found your eyelids getting very heavy during that first-period algebra class?
Were you one of those stragglers who had to serve a detention or two because you stumbled into homeroom after the morning bell?
Well, looking back on it, it might not have been because you were lazy, lacking in punctuality or that you found algebra to be less than altogether compelling. It could be that you had to be shaken out of bed, marched to the bus and forced to go through those first couple of hours of school feeling like a zombie from a George Romero movie because you were biologically programmed to feel that way.
Copious amounts of research has revealed that the up-with-the-chickens start times we inflict on K-12 students is not good for their learning or well-being. It’s particularly tough for high school students, who are biologically inclined to be night owls and should ideally be getting anywhere from eight-and-a-half to 10 hours of sleep every day. Studies have found that teens who don’t get enough sleep are less alert in school, more prone to absenteeism, more prone to being overweight, depressed and in danger of picking up unhealthy habits like smoking and drug use.
In the 2016-17 school year, to cite one example, the school system in Seattle pushed back its start time by 55 minutes, and found that students were able to get a crucial 34 minutes of additional sleep, and grades went up. Start times were changed in California, and legislation is pending to do the same in states as disparate as New Jersey and Tennessee.
Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long recommended that school start times be pushed back, and this week the Upper St. Clair School District became the latest in a small but growing number of districts that have decided to move up the time that they start their days. Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, high school classes will get underway in Upper St. Clair at 8 a.m., and the day will end at 2:45 p.m. Elementary students will start at 8:35 a.m. and wrap up at 3:05 p.m., and middle school students will start at 8:55 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m.
Part of the reason relatively few districts have shifted their start times is all the headache-inducing complications that spring from it. As journalist Danielle Dreilinger put it for the journal Education Next, “The crux of the matter is that schools are a collection of moving parts, from predawn janitorial and food service prep to busing and after-school activities, family work routines, are often organized around school rhythms. Shifting secondary school start times sends shock waves through these systems.”
Sure, changing times isn’t an easy undertaking. But more districts in this region need to look to Upper St. Clair, see how it’s time change works out, and consider following suit in the 2024-25 school year.
Don't expect anything as a result of this time change. The result will be the same as going fron stsndard time to daylight savings time. In a few weeks everything will end up the same. A short period of adjuxtment.
Based on your comments about causes and cures of brain health issues, I would assume that you don't put much stock in scientific studies.
I am in fact a scientist with a degree in Chemistry. I deal in hard facts, not soft assumptions. We have no mental health system beyond just throwing drugs at people which in the end they don't take because of the side effects. I know once a year the clocks get set back and those tired students get an extra hour of sleep. But that hour wears off very fast and we don't see a jump in performance after that extra hour of sleep.
Then you must simply choose to ignore results of research studies that do not support your hypothesis. Interesting position for a scientist to take I think.
OK, the clocks get set back one hour every fall. Is there a corresponding jump in student performance every year after that set back? Apparently not. As a scientist, I most include all variables when I di a study. It is not just what time do we start school but when do students go to bed. All scientific studies must include all variables to be complete. Adjusting start time without taking into account student sleep time is a worthless study. As a chemist I looked into all interference's in my analysis. Until I can correct for those interference's but results are flawed. So until they control when students go to bed that study is flawed.
A scientific study must account for anything that interferes with tor affects the outcome of the study . Student sleep time is a huge variable which appears to have been rejected as a variable here. As I said the clock were adjusted every year during the first semester with no improvement in student performance. That makes it a fatally flawed study.
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