Should high school start later?

A new study indicates that moving the opening bell back just 30 minutes can help teenagers perform better in the classroom

Should high school start a half hour later?
(Image credit: Corbis)

Teenagers love to sleep in — and now scientists say we should let them. A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that students at a New England boarding school were more motivated — and awake — after the start time of their first class was pushed back from 8 a.m. to 8:30. Students and teachers alike said the change improved their quality of life. Grades only improved slightly, leading the Rhode Island sleep scientists who did the study to conclude that it might be wise to start even later. Should all schools ring the morning bell later?

Give kids the break they obviously need: "I can see no good reason to drag kids out of bed at the break of dawn," says Sandy Maple in Starting school early has more to do with "transportation issues" than what's best for kids. Based on this evidence, it's clear that letting our children sleep a little later will help them get the most out of school.

"Later school start good for students"

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It may be a good idea, but schools can't do it: "Pushing back the school day is not a new concept," says Max Linsky in, but it's not going to happen. Starting class later means involves "adjusting everything from work days to bus schedules," and schools simply don't have "enough muscle to pull it off." And with "budgets being slashed," there's no promise of relief "any time soon."

"Keep dreaming, kid: Rhode Island high school tells students to sleep in"

This could revolutionize education: Starting the day later is worth the trouble, says the Chicago Daily Herald in an editorial. In this time of tight budgets, it's a sure-fire way to boost education without the costs associated with improving other factors, such as "class size, available resources, learning atmosphere, and teacher quality." A "slight shift in our habits" is a small price to pay if it means making our schools more successful.

"Lets' wake up to sleep survey results"

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