Should school start later?

In October 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement suggesting that school districts consider starting school after 8:30am. Currently, some schools start as early as 7am. With the option of a 0 period, or an optional class before 1st period, it can be even earlier. One reason for this schedule is a consideration for parents’ work schedules, making it easy for parents to drive their kids to school. Many argue, however, that teenagers and adults do not function on the same sleep schedule. They say that students can find other ways to get to school: a small price to pay for getting enough sleep.

The proposal to push back when first period begins comes from concerns that starting school too early negatively affects teenagers. Studies have shown that middle and high school students with adequate amounts of sleep, 8-10 hours, have better test scores. This subject has been debated heavily since schools began starting earlier and earlier.

The AAP study found that most teenagers need sufficient sleep to cope with busy lives filled with school, sports, and extracurricular activities. According to this research, the ideal amount of sleep for the average teenager falls between 8.5 and 9.5 hours a night, and teenagers who receive adequate sleep benefit from better physical and mental health, safety, and academic performance. It also revealed that puberty causes a “phase delay” in teenagers, which shifts the time that teenagers fall asleep back by two hours. Because of this, the average teenager is expected to fall asleep after 11pm and wake up around 8am.

When students do not get enough hours of sleep due to the phase delay and waking up early, it can have a long term impact on students’ health. A National Sleep Foundation poll reported that 28 percent of teenagers have fallen asleep in class at least once due to lack of sleep. Negative effects of sleep loss include impairments in mood, attention, memory, behavior and executive function. In addition, a lack of sleep may lead to an increase in caffeine use to counter the effects of drowsiness. Finally, this study found that sleep-deprived teens are at a higher risk of car accidents.

sleeping-student-2-639x360Many researchers agree that starting the school day later might be beneficial to young people. Lawrence Epstein, a medical director of Sleep Health Centers in Brighton, Massachusetts and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, believes that “adequate sleep is essential to feeling awake and alert, maintaining good health, and working at peak performance.” Starting later can allow youth to get the necessary amount of sleep, which is due to the natural late-to-bed and late-to-rise biology of teenagers. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “Students with symptoms of sleep disorders are more likely to receive poor grades in classes such as math, reading and writing than peers without symptoms of sleep disorders.” Getting enough sleep might lead to a decreased risk of car accidents, less depression and obesity, the prevention of illnesses like colds and flus that adversely affect academic performance, and generally improved mental ability. Although students can get more sleep by simply going to bed earlier, many need this time to finish homework. With a later school start time, students can have both: adequate time to prepare for the next day and a sufficient amount of sleep.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to a later school day. Schools starting later would require schools to also end later. This would cut into extracurricular activities and sports that are an important part of many teens’ lives. Balancing practices and games with homework might become a lot harder to juggle. Many teens also have to work after school to support their families, which would become very difficult with the later school times. In addition, many teenagers might go to sleep later at night if they don’t have to get up as early, which would negate the value of the later school start time. Some argue that early school start times are beneficial because they prepare young people to get up early, like they will have to do in the work force. Another argument against a later school time states that it is an inconvenience for families since many parents take kids to school on their way to work. According to NPR’s program All Things Considered, almost 50 percent of Americans kids walked or biked to school in 1969 but today the figure is only 13 percent. This data would imply that more parents might need school start times to align with their work schedules in order to transport their children to and from school.


Learn more…

[AUDIO] High Schoolers and Snooze Buttons: A Public Health Crisis 
This report describes new findings from health researchers about the consequences of schools having early start times.

[ARTICLE] Older Children to Start School Later to Find Out If It Suits Their Biological Clocks
The circadian rhythm determines a person’s sleep patterns every 24 hours and it seems that a person’s circadian rhythm varies on their age, therefore school starting earlier interferes with older students’ sleeping pattern.

[ARTICLE] Why School Should Start Later in the Morning
Sleep deprivation caused by early starts at school is a factor of obesity, depression, and a lower quality of life.

[ARTICLE] How Much Sleep is Just Right for Cognitive Function
AsapSCIENCE shows how our brains function after sleeping a night of 4 hours, 6 hours and 8 hours.

[VIDEO] The Science-Backed Reason Schools Should Start Later
This video talks about the consequences of sleep deprivation for adolescents and gives statistics on start times for schools.


This post was written by the following youth from the Science News Team within the California Academy of Sciences:

Alex, Alvin, Avi, Darrah, Mathew, Maggie, Ori, and Sophie

Should Schools Start Later to Improve Academic Performance? 22 August,2017California Academy of Sciences

  • Ben LI

    I think school start time show be move from 8 – 10 this will give student more time to est. Resting can lower the student stress level of student leading them to a better time in school. Giving them a few extra hour of sleep can help kid wake up more happily. Also most kids don’t have enough time in the morning to get breakfast but with late start they would. If the start time of school was move even earlier kids would come to school really cranky.

    • Katie Henderson

      Hey Ben, I agree that kids getting a few more extra hours of sleep each night would greatly affect them in a positive way. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a child’s morning and a lot of kids skip this meal to get those few extra minutes of sleep. #MyCMSTArgs

      • Ben LI

        You are absolutely correct. I wish all school would start at 10 so we could get a good breakfast. A full stomach would please anyone mood. Are you trying to smash tho?

  • Alisha

    I believe the start of schools should be slightly moved forward. I don’t think school should start as late as 10am, but even that extra hour in the morning that I used to get one day of the week on “Late Tuesdays” in high school, made all the difference. A later start, firstly, means more sleep! And boy, do we need sleep. Being sleep deprived not only affected my ability to pay attention during school hours, but also cut into my time after school anyway because I would often be in desperate need of a nap. The only negative side I could see to starting school earlier is having everything in the evening be pushed back an hour as well so that you end up going to bed an hour later and getting the same amount of sleep as before. Maybe the issue isn’t the time that school starts, but rather the alarmingly high expectations high schools have for their students who are expected to attend 8 hour school days, conduct hours of studying, participate in extra curriculars to build their resume for college and also work to support themselves and/or their families.
    #MyCMSTArgs

    • Alexandra Julia Palomino

      Hi Alisha, I totally agree with you. I think schools do start too early. Mornings don’t allow students to eat breakfast or prepare for their day. However I don’t think pushing back the start time would make a difference because I think students would just go to bed later or spend more time watching movies or on their phones. There are a lot of ways to prepare the night before to make mornings easier but people don’t necessarily plan ahead. So no matter the start time of school students will probably still be tired and like you said it may not have to do with sleep but maybe stress levels. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Kim Cuong Nguyen

      I agree with you one hundred percent. High school students just have too much on their plate due to the high expectations society have for them. High school students have to meet all these check boxes to make their college resumes stand out, and all those things take so much time from student’s schedule which results into a lack in sleep. Students doesn’t really have a choice but to sleep late. It is either completing all the homework assignments and getting good grades, or sleep early and leave things undone. Usually students pick staying up to finish the school assignments as a means to secure their grades. That is why it is so important to push the school start time to start a bit later, so students can get a little bit extra sleep. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Alexandra Julia Palomino

    I do think that students would benefit from a later school start time. 8:30 or 9 would be a great start time. High school can be stressful and mornings can be rough especially when you’re in a rush trying to prepare for your day and having the time to eat breakfast before going to school is very important. It is a tough decision however because the later you start the later you get out of school and many students play sports or hang out with their families in the evening. I do think schools should start later but the problem could also be solved by students going to bed earlier and resetting their body clock. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Kim Cuong Nguyen

      Hi Alexandra, I agree with you that starting school at a later time is beneficial, however, I disagree about the notion that students can easily get more sleep by just deciding to. A lot of highschool students don’t have the option to go to bed early because of their busy schedules. Some students have work, sports, clubs, and even AP classes. When this much stuff is on a student’s plate, there just isn’t room to sleep early. Because a lot of students don’t have the option to sleep early, starting school later is a must. It gives students an opportunity to get more sleep. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

      • brandoncancholareyes

        I agree with both Kim and Alexandra, I’m currently taking AP classes, playing four sports, and attending college. All of this as a sophomore in high school. Now you may be asking yourself “How does he have enough time to do all that?” and the truth is I don’t. All of this often runs into my sleep scheduled and as a result I often seem very tired. School should just start later to let us rest more.

  • Kim Cuong Nguyen

    I agree having a later start for school is a great idea. Because schools start so early, kids educational potential is hindered. I think that with more sleep makes a more productive person. In addition, a lot of kids in highschool have really busy schedules. I was like one of these kids who had to juggle sports, clubs, and AP classes. All of these activities takes time, so kids would often stay up late to catch up on homework because sport practice ran late or they had to do four hour volunteer work for their clubs. This means that most kids don’t have the option to sleep early and sleep in, therefore, by having school start later kids have more sleep and would be more productive in the academic setting. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/backgrounder-later-school-start-times

    • Nicholas Feeley

      I agree that school starting later is a good start. I think highschool needs to evolve and operates on an archaic system at this point. Schools should provide more freedom to students. Attending highschool in my opinion should not even be a mandatory affair. Young adults who put so much effort into their educations deserve more and those who don’t care should be able to make their own decisions and face the consequences. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • Brenda Elizalde

    I agree on having a later start for school. As a senior in high school, a later start will benefit my learning. Most of the time I can’t even concentrate in class because I’m so tired and focused on trying to stay awake. By starting school later, I feel like I will be more refreshed and ready to learn. But I also feel as if this later start will give us less time to do any extracurricular activities, homework, or other personal things we may have to do. This either benefits us or it doesn’t, it goes both ways.

    • starsfromabove

      I agree with your statement because I can really relate to your situation as a senior in high school. I think it is an important aspect to fully learn the material taught in class since senior year is an incredibly crucial time since we are preparing for our upcoming college lives. Therefore, a later start time can be of great benefit to many high school students. In opposition, it could have it’s bad points. For example, it could give students an excuse to abuse their sleeping schedules

    • Alisha

      I agree with you that more sleep benefits one’s learning. There have been countless times where I have been so distracted at school or even at home trying to do homework because of how tired I was. However, I do not believe we should push the start time back for school; rather make school days shorter. If we pushed the school day back by an hour, everything else would be pushed back by an hour as well. If school days were shorter, though, that’s when there would actually be more time in a day to do things.

  • Jason In

    I don’t agree with having a earlier start time as when you get to school at like 9 or 9:15, you would have the day end at like 4 or 4:15 and then you would have less time after school to do things that you want like play a sport or hang out with friends or anything else you can do after school. Also, just because school starts an hour later, that doesn’t mean that you can get more sleep as you will have to do all of the things that you would have to do after school like chores or homework and would go to sleep about an hour later as you would have to compensate for your personal duties. Or, in simpler terms, you will be getting the same amount of sleep.
    In terms of sleep and schoolwork, everything will be the same; and, in regards to afterschool activities, you will have less time to do stuff you want/need to do.

    • Alisha

      I do agree with you because by making school start an hour later, one is just pushing everything back by an hour which means one will just be getting the same amount of sleep. Don’t you think the problem isn’t what time school starts but rather the amount of things one has to do in high school? Or perhaps even making school days shorter would be a better solution? Simply making school start at a later time is not the solution. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Rodolfo Sanchez

    My high school starts at 8:15am but the thing is that, I live a bit far from my school so I have to wake up at 6am in order to have time to take a shower (morning showers helps me wake up), get dress, if I have spare time I´ll eat breakfast, and try to catch the bus to go to school. Even when I make it to school, I´m thirty minutes early before the first bell rings. I´m mix about this whole subject of taking school later in the day.

    • Katie Henderson

      I agree that everyone will have their own circumstances for the situation. Starting school later could benefit some people who have to take extra time in the morning to ensure they will be there on time. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Vincent Nguyen

    I disagree having school starter is a bad idea. Because school will end so late, and it will get dark. Having school starting early is a good thing so than other kids can be ready in the future when they are having a job they wouldn’t be late.

  • cheyenne

    i believe the start time is irrelevant, even if it started at 830 or 815 it is still difficult to wake up (for some not all) early and go straight into learning. i think the way the schedules are set up are imperative to the success of the students. for instance many people have their core courses like math, english, science or even a new language as their first period class and unless they do well with learning early in the morning their success rate will not be as high as someone who does learn well in the morning. i propose that rather than having a core class as the first period maybe a gym class or a new class to help students get prepared for the day something similar to gym which would allow them to be active but also something that helps them get mentally stimulated for the rest of the day. also, having multiple assignments that make students have to sit down for hours and do homework makes it difficult to have a full night of sleep….of course that is due to individual teaching but the schools are so focused on promoting “students being active within their own communities” but students get slammed with so much homework finding the time is very difficult…. many people have after school responsibilities that aren’t taken into account when assignments are given. in other words taking the students lives outside of school into consideration when giving a class homework is something that is too often ignored. for the future of the students taking their lives as an individual and not a statistic is necessary for the success of everyone involved.

    • Alexandra Julia Palomino

      I do think in a lot of cases no matter the start time students will still be tired in the morning. I really liked your idea of having a gym class first. Whenever I go to the gym before class I always feel more alert and involved but that could also be because in high school I had conditioning before school at 6 am. Even though waking up to be in the pool by 6 was hard, by the time I made it to class at 7:45 I was wide awake and ready to have a productive day. Here’s an article I found that supports the same idea. Instead of starting classes later they could get students active in the morning:
      http://activeforlife.com/exercise-before-school-improves-attentiveness-in-class/
      #MyCMSTArgs

  • Tommy

    well if you don’t want to be tired then eat breakfast in the morning just eat something smell like a banana

  • starsfromabove

    In what ways could a later start benefit teenagers, but also cost them? How would an earlier start time affect students?

    Yes I think school should start later. A benefit would include a more alert and attentive working schedule for young teenagers. A disadvantage would include teenagers taking advantage of the later start to play video games or procrastinating on homework that needs to be done and finishing it a few hours before school starts. I think having an earlier start time would make students more tired and unprepared go focus in class. Their main focus would be to sleep instead and the material taught in class would not sink into their minds.

    • Carolyn Gurstein

      I agree that students may take advantage of a later start but I also understand how having no sleep affects a students performance in class. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Julian Kirk

    I believe that starting school later has a lot of pros and cons. Here are 2 examples, pros being students not falling asleep in class as often obviously but there are cons too. With school starting earlier school also ends later which may interfere with responsibilities people may have or a part time job they may have. It would also leave less time for homework which probably won’t be a problem because getting out at like 4 or 4:30 instead of 3 or 3:30 etc is not that bad, still leaves plenty of time to do work but I feel like depending on responsibilities the person may have losing that 30 min – 1 hour or so could be very bad. I also feel like a lot of kids don’t really want to get out of school 1 hourish later but some might not mind either. Personally I would not like to get out of school 30 minutes – 1 hour later but this is about performance in schools not about what I want or others want so I do think it would help student performance.

    • Jodi DeMassa

      I agree with you on the cons of getting out later. However, I feel like it’s just a matter of getting used to staying an hour later. In other words, it might not feel good in the beginning to get out at 4, but then once it’s more of a regular schedule I don’t think it would be that bad. I personally am not a morning bird at all, and I find that it’s easier to function later at night. That’s why I’m taking some night classes at school. #MyCMSTArgs

      • Mason Dossey

        I really like your point. It could only be an hour difference which wouldn’t affect people’s schedule so much. I was worried about the after school activities/work as an issue but if it’s only an hour later I think we would be able to adjust as a society. I am also not a morning person so it would definitely benefit me. I like all of your arguments and points! #MyCMSTargs

    • Nicholas Feeley

      I have a secondary proposition. Instead of making school start later perhaps school system could be reformed. Perhaps the answer is just shorten school days all together. As a college student I don’t attend school five days a week and at most have 4 classes in one day. Perhaps the whole system is just outdated. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • Katie Henderson

    NPR Weekend Edition posed this great question in the snip it
    of one of their reports: “If a kid is in first period, when they are still supposed
    to be sleeping, how much are they actually learning?” I remember being in first
    period and it being really hard to focus and even stay awake sometimes. I think
    schools starting later would improve overall performance and test scores by a
    landslide. Although it would cut into extracurricular activities, part time
    jobs, and may make it more difficult to find transportation to and from school,
    the outcomes within the school system would be tremendous. I found some really
    cool facts about teens and sleep at this website. http://www.startschoollater.net/wake-up-calls-fast-facts.html
    #MyCMSTArgs

    • Jodi DeMassa

      Even though I didn’t have a 0 period, I used to be in marching band which would start at 7 am. It was really hard to think about where I was walking during practice and it would be really tough to get there on time. I think that your quote about, ‘”If a kid is in first period, when they are still supposed to be sleeping, how much are they learning?”‘ is really insightful. I also went to your link to look at the outcomes from starting school so early. One of them that caught my eye was “Insufficient sleep in teens is associated with obesity, migraines, and immune system disruption and with health risk behaviors including smoking, drinking, stimulant abuse, physical fighting, physical inactivity, depression, and suicidal tendencies teens is associated with obesity, migraines, and immune system disruption and with health risk behaviors including smoking, drinking, stimulant abuse, physical fighting, physical inactivity, depression, and suicidal tendencies.” Who knew how much sleep deprivation has on us? #MyCMSTArgs

    • Mason Dossey

      Those were some cool facts! I do agree that transportation would be affected due to parents being at work already. But just like work, school needs to be attended to. Should we push work hours back too? So everybody can get plenty of sleep? Teenagers need to get used to the real world and learn how to manage their time and their sleep. It would be awfully hard to go to school late for years then have a job that requires you to attend at 6am. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTargs @2ndheartmom

  • Jodi DeMassa

    The National Sleep Fondationation discusses here about the signifigant difference the Minneapolis Public School District had when it changed the starting times of seven high schools from 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. Back in my highschool, we started at 8:10 most days unless you had a 0 period, which started at 7:20am. However, on Wednesday if you had a 1st period, you’d start at 8:50. I can tell you just from a half hour difference, that made a big impact. It helped me out alot because I got to sleep in, relax a little, then go to school. It was still in the beginning of the day and allowed us to get to work or our afterschool sports. This brings me to my conclusion: I think that it’s a very good idea to start school later not only because of the long term effects of sleep deprivation, but the time management. I don’t think that starting school a half hour to an hour later makes much of a difference.
    https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/school-start-time-and-sleep

    #MyCMSTArgs

  • Mason Dossey

    Starting school later has both pros and cons. Yes, students wouldn’t be so tired and would more academically capable at the later hours of the day, but pushing school back means class ending later in the day. In school I always played sports, so having class end later would affect my after school activities schedule, and playing sports and being active is a very important part of a young person’s life. A lot of school do a “late start” day which can help students catch up on their sleeping schedule and can really make a big difference…trust me. Late start was always my favorite day of the week. So overall, in my opinion I don’t think school should be moved back because it will mess up people’s schedules too much. Maybe an additional “late start” could be the answer to this question. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs @2ndheartmom

    • Julian Kirk

      I agree with what you said but another problem is created with late start. Some people’s parents want to drop their kids off at school for whatever reason and they might not be able to do that if they have work if school starts later on that day.

    • Karla

      I like your idea about the late start. I know my school had one every month and it really did help me sleep in a little longer. I also know that some schools have a late start every Monday. So maybe schools could implement this and see what results they get from the students and from the staff in regards to how interactive students are. #MyCMSTAgrs

    • Rigoberto Lomas-Velazco

      I agree, having a later start will mean that the students also have less time after school to finish their activities. Especially if the students have other extracurricular activities. things like sports will have later start times too, so the students will be finishing up a lot later. Even if the students have more time to sleep in the morning they’ll be going to bed much later.

  • Nicholas Feeley

    I don’t have a problem with starting school later or school starting earlier. I think responsible young adults can maintain their own sleep schedules. The real issue with public K-12 education in our country isn’t that it starts too early, it is that it is fundamentally flawed at nearly every level. before I rant I will however state that my comments only reflect my perspective going to a public highschool in California. Run by an obviously corrupt administrative bureaucracy more concerned with stuffing their pockets in many cases then actually tending to students, K-12 education is a dull affair from the top down. Students in public highschool are beaten every day by dull lectures. Forced to memorize irrelevant information day in and out to pass classes that in many cases don’t apply to anything relevant in life. Many teachers genuinely care about their students and some even make their classes worthwhile but in the end many teachers are just sitting around giving dull lectures with tenure grinding through a job they obviously despise. Part of the problem with schools is also the ridiculous amount of homework classes will give you (some times 4-5 hours a night which becomes impossible if you do an extracurricular activity) . The fact that highschool meets five days a week also seems ridiculous once you attend college. After attending university for over a year now I can whole heartedly testify that class does not need to meet every day of the week. I understand the argument that it is important for kids to learn what its like to work when they grow up but the intrinsic value of life is not how much you work, it is that you enjoy your work. Highschool for certain deprives rights from individuals who can be completely responsible for themselves such as the right to chose not to wake up every morning 6:00AM. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

    • K. Smith

      I think your “rant” is both interesting and different because my high school experience was nothing like you describe. I didn’t attend a public high school here in California, but you make very good points on how people are more concerned about making a profit than helping the future of this country. My parents understood this concept and put me through private school – and while I didn’t appreciate it at the time I feel very fortunate for the opportunities I was given. I noticed you mentioned that some teachers despise their chosen profession, however being a senior in college I can happily say that I’m still in contact with some of my best mentors/ teachers from high school.

  • Marissa Diaz

    Starting school later may be beneficial to some student but no so much to others. A later start would allow students to get more sleep and be more focused and function better whereas some may not see a later start as being beneficial. Some students might see a later start as an opportunity to stay up later because they start school later. A later start might be great for some and not so great for others although a later start would be beneficial to many students education.

    • Karla

      I agree with you saying that some students may see the later start as an opportunity to stay up later because they will be able to sleep in a little longer. Which means there will be no benefit of that and they will continue to not be focused in school and they will be just as tired. #MyCMSTAgrs

  • Cali Smith

    I think school should start later and unnecessary classes should be cut. We as students need to learn more things that will help us succeed in life. Instead of learning how to write in MLA format we should be learning how to write a resume or a professional email. Or instead of learning how to balance chemical equations or solve complex math problems, we should be learning how to do taxes. Unless someone plans on having a career regarding those things, like a scientist, most students will never use those things they learned. If unnecessary classes were cut there would be no need to start so early or end later.

    • Carolyn Gurstein

      I really agree with this point. When I was in high school I found so many of the things I was learning to be not useful and I feel like a class discussing resumes and learning to do taxes would be really useful. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Karla

    Regardless at what time school starts students still have to get up and go to school. The point of high school is to prepare the students for what their adult lives will consist of. Students should be able to get up go to classes and manage their after school activities. It teaches organization, and management skills. Maybe schools should start eliminating certain courses that don’t seem to be of high priority compared to others, that way students can get out early. But regardless I don’t think that this is that big of an issue there are other more important things that schools should be focusing on like if they are actually preparing their students enough to go to college. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTAgrs The article under the more resources tab titled “Why School Should Start Later In The Morning,” states that students clearly need more sleep. But maybe school starting later should be tried out at the younger schools only not the high schools.

  • Alita Stukel

    I believe that starting school later is both good and bad; on the good side, students may end up being well rested and be more willing to pay attention and there might be less issues in school such as fights. Starting school later could also increase test scores. On the downside, students might take advantage of the late start and not show up, or it might be hard to get rides to and from or. It could also take time out of family bonding.

  • Mady Emory

    I believe schools should start later, or that classes should be double-blocked like college. We spend nine hours a day in classes, waking up at 6:30 every morning, some even earlier in order to catch a bus to school, and. If I may be so blunt, it’s ludicrous. We spend more hours a day at school then the average worker. Even then, scientific studies have proven that sleep is key if you want to actually be a functioning human being and not a drone who has to rely on coffee. Granted, there are certainly some down-sides to this, but I think that the pro’s outweigh the con’s here.

  • alejandra

    I believe that school should start later. Many kids get a lot of home work during the day and stay up late working on it, then have to wake up early the next day. They should get more sleep. If they wake up to late then they’ll be falling during class.

  • K. Smith

    I’m a firm believer that if someone isn’t receiving an adequate amount of sleep then they cannot function correctly. High school is tough enough – forcing students to come earlier won’t help. Rather being concerned with the amount of time students are on campus, the argument should be focused more on the material the students are being taught. According to the following link : http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/what-do-students-need-most-more-sleep/?_r=0, student’s should be getting up to nine hours of sleep each night. Four out of five children agree that that is just not reality. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

    • Vincent Sims

      I completely agree, they focus more on being there rather than the actual content. They should try to strive for mastery rather than a good grade. Some of the smartest people I know have good grades but understand anything about the subject after the test. Teachers get mad at students for falling asleep in class when they were staying up all night to do the work you assigned.

  • Daniela Jimenez

    School should start later because teens are always complaining on how tired they are in class and that distracts them from doing their work. Students are expected to do good in a test, but it’s hard to take a test when your half asleep. I feel school districts make teens start school earlier because they want them to have sense of responsibility. Like they would if they were to have a real paying job. But, they don’t realize is that teens need are still developing. Teens are still trying to figure out who they are and they don’t need to feel tired and out of it because they couldn’t get a good night sleep.

  • JeffCMST

    I believe school times shouldn’t start at a later start just because it will mess up the routine of the parents dropping them off at school when the parents are on the way to work. I also feel if schools start at a later time the extra-curricular activities the students do after school would get messed up as well because if school starts at a later time that means getting out at a later time as well which leads to less time to do other important things like homework or family. On the other hand, I also feel like starting school later can also have some positives in a child’s education. For example, later school starts means some more sleeping in which means we can actually pay attention in class and not worry so much on falling asleep in class..#MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

    • Tanya Arevalo

      I agree keeping the starting time the same and not changing it to a later time will make it easier on everyone busy schedule. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Sue Peterson

      The parents going to work thing is a definite concern I would have with later start times. Also, after thinking about it a bit, all the literature says that people who get up earlier are more productive. Maybe it is just a matter of training their bodies to wake up earlier and really working on going to sleep earlier. But, with high schoolers, that is a hard argument (the going to sleep earlier part).

  • JeffCMST
  • Lilly Daoust

    I think that students should start school later. They should start later so that students can have more time to rest. You can go to sleep early but waking up early is hard either way and students are more angry and less willing to learn in the morning if they’re tired.

    • Blaine Ball

      I agree, teens don’t do well when given an important test at an early time of the day. More sleep would give them more energy and an easier time doing work in class.

    • Diana Avila

      As much as I’d like to fully agree Rigoberto in the previous comments stated that even if we have the extra time to “sleep” (because who knows what we actually do instead of that) we don’t use it to our advantage. Yes it might be better for us but in the long run and looking at it though a macro perspective, it wouldn’t benefit as much as we’d like. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell @2ndheartmom

    • marjon blount

      I understand where you are coming from @romywieder:disqus , although I don’t think waking up in the morning is the issue, but rather lack of sleep prior to waking up for school. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Romy Wieder

    I think the start time of schools being moved forward would be a great idea! In ways that a later start would benefit teenagers, they have more energy, be more awake, & would for sure have a good amount of tie of sleep. having an earlier start time would affect students maybe alittle bit of there free time but having a late start for school would make student participate more cause everytime after lunch kids always have more engery in the class rooms.
    #DoNowFirstBell

    • Blaine Ball

      I agree, sleep is very important in a teen’s life and it greatly determines the amount of energy and focus they’ll have in classes. The more sleep the better.

    • bgirl272

      All of your points are very good, not to mention the fact that a lot of kids come late anyways because they are so tired in the morning. Starting later would also mean that more kids would show up to those beginning classes.

    • Keely Baccus

      I agree that delaying start times would help a lot. After I started college and I could start my classes a little bit later I found that I was a lot more willing to go to class and that I was able to get more things done in the morning as well. Students need sleep so they can absorb the information given to them the next day. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • Carolyn Gurstein

    I do not believe that school should start later. A later start may be nice for rough mornings but I do not think it will help prepare the teenager for the adult life. When you work at a real job you are expected to show up on time and it doesn’t matter how much sleep you get. I feel like an earlier start time wouldn’t be necessary, I feel the time schedule should stay as is. I also feel like a heavy homework load may be affecting how long students sleep, so maybe the teachers need to ease back on how much work they give their students. But when looking at the science of of things I do understand the argument for later start times, arguements mentioned here http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/why-school-should-start-later/401489/ do give fair points as to why a later start time would be beneficial. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Blaine Ball

    In my opinion, teens would greatly benefit from an early school start time. Even one hour longer of sleep, day-preparation, and time to get to school would be beneficial. With more rest, energy, and focus students will pay better attention in their classes instead of falling asleep throughout their morning classes. Pushing the end time of school back an hour wouldn’t be keeping them from and after school homework, studies, or sport practices either. Starting school later would be a great idea. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

    • Rigoberto Lomas-Velazco

      Starting later doesn’t necessarily mean the students will have more time to sleep. Its like changing an hour during daylight savings time. All your doing is postponing the students activities. They will still have all the same amount of work to do it’ll just be moved back one hour.

      • Tanya Arevalo

        hmm never thought about like that, but it makes sense what you are saying. We all have 24 hours a day to do what needs to get done and what we do with that time is up to us. #MyCMSTArgs

      • Sue Peterson

        Good point Rigo. It may just make them go to bed even later than usual. But, if they PERFORM better later in the day for academics, etc. it may be better even if they are not getting more sleep.

      • Diana Avila

        Very true! As the article did mention something similar I think that schools should keep the start time as is. Teens are most likely not to think positively or take advantage of the opportunity given, even if it would help improve their academic achievements. #MYCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

      • bgirl272

        I definitely agree. I hated having to wake up so early in high school and while I could focus okay mid-day, the beginning and end were really rough. Waking up later definitely makes productivity of learning increase in my mind.

      • D Brown

        So then what do you suggest as a means of helping our youth to do better and foster an environment of learning? #MyCMSTArgs

      • One Fish

        My middle school started at 9:05 and got out at 3:40. My high school goes from 7:45 to 2:30. Students at the high school, no matter what age, are zombies during the first half hour, at least. At the middle school, people are aka enough to learn right when they get there. I remember me transition fromantic middle to high, and like many others, I went from 🙂 to extreme anxiety. It really didn’t matter that the school got out so late either, the sports people did their sports, the band and choir kids made their music, and if they felt like after school wasn’t enough, there were 0 periods (period before 1st) they could take.

    • Yashar C.

      I agree. Would you say dropping classes like advisory or study hall would be necessary for the time reduction? If not, what could be another method of reducing school time so the establishment can start later? #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Rigoberto Lomas-Velazco

    I do believe that the later start time can have benefits for more students, but only if they are able to take advantage of it. Back when I was in high school my school started at 8:55 am and were let go at 3:00 pm. My freshman year I didn’t feel tired too often. I loved the idea of being able to start school almost an hour later than I did when I was in middle school. However, after a while I started staying up much later because I knew I had more time to sleep in the morning. So i ended up being just as tired in those classes as I was in middle school. I also have other relatives who have parents that leave early for work and make their children wake up regardless of the time they start school. So like I stated earlier the later start time could only really benefit those who aare disciplined enough to go to bed at the right times. With enough commitment the I do think that the kids should be able to make themselves go to sleep at earlier times. Especially if they really are tired from a long days work.

  • Tanya Arevalo

    The school starting time should be 8 am; no later, or earlier than this time. This starting time will allow kids to get the sufficient time of sleep they need during the night and allow them to be ready to start school the next day at 8am. Starting at 8 am will also allow students enough time during the afternoon to participate in other actives such as sports, work, and homework. Starting at 8am will keep students on a regular schedule that will be easier to continue after graduation and going into the real world. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

  • Bridgette

    No matter the start time of school, it will always be a bother, where the start time is later, but school would go until 4 or 5 in the evening, thus would impede on the time they get to spend with their family. The earlier start time leaves them the late afternoon to complete homework and go to bed at a normal hour. Pushing the school day back will only push bedtimes further back and promote odd sleeping patterns. Leave the school day early, and let the kids have an evening with their parents, not homework. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

    • Sue Peterson

      That is the general argument. I like the idea of a shortened school day myself. I think we have students stretched a bit thin with all of their classes plus extracurriculars, etc. So, maybe considering what a high school graduate REALLY needs to know and then choosing classes more in line with that would allow a shorter day. Later start time without too much later end time. Just a thought.

  • Diana Avila

    Although this article was thought provoking and hard to decide what side would be better for students, i’m going to have to say that I agree with keeping school times as it has been, at 8. The reason for that is because of the inconvenience to parents, as well as extracurricular activities, and for me personally, working after school. If there could be an agreement to both, I would say that it would be possible to start an hour later but that comes with changing factors, of course. College is a great example, I think, for starting later. Now that most of us are older we know our selves and we are easily able to determine if we’re morning or not. I am not, as many are too! With that being said picking classes for our convenience really helps us, but doesn’t help students K-12. #MyCMSTArgs #donowfirstbell

    • Yashar C.

      I agree with you. In actuality, there is nothing dramatically wrong with schools’ start time. It proves effective in the end result of student learning. However, A later start time wouldn’t hurt the proficiency of students either. It honestly all depends on a individual’s study habits.
      #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • Yashar C.

    The start time for schools should be pushed forward (by at least 2 hours). A later start can benefit students by providing more time for rest, which increases student proficiency. In terms of academics, a two hour reduction in school time would not harm student learning especially if classes like study hall or advisory are dropped. An earlier start could possibly cripple students’ capability by reducing their sleep time. Sleeping is essential for the mind and serves as a method for it to recharge. Little time for rest damages student proficiency. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • bgirl272

    I think school times should definitely be later. A later start would benefit them because they would be a lot less tired in class and better able to pay attention. It could possibly cost them because they would get out of school later as well, which is the only drawback I see. One of my favorite parts of coming into classes was that I could choose when to have my classes. While some students enjoy waking up early and getting out early others prefer the opposite. And for those of us who can’t seem to function that early in the morning it is such a blessing to have the choice. I think the best solution might be to have it how it is, but offer a second option for students who want to start later.

    • marjon blount

      How will we be able to commit our time to work and sports if we start school later @bgirl272:disqus ? #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

    • Devin Morris

      I agree with the idea that it would be great to have two different options on school start time for students, but it seems like that would be confusing for schools/faculty to organize days like that properly. How would they go about making a change like that? #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • marjon blount

    Yes, school starts at a relatively early hour. In my opinion starting school later will not make a difference, considering students will have the same amount of hours to complete the same amount of homework if school were to start later. Student also have obligations such as work, sports, and other curriculum activities these would be affected by starting school at a later. Students should be taught how to manage their time more responsibly. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFirstBell

    • Devin Morris

      I agree that students should be disciplined on how to manage their homework time and responsibilities, also they should work on their sleeping schedules. I also like the point that even if you push back the time, they will still have to complete the same amount of schoolwork. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • Devin Morris

    I think the start time for schools should be later because it will help students be more alert during the school day and possibly get better grades. The only downfalls of a later start time is that it doesn’t cater to many parents’ work schedules and also will make the school day end later, which some students have after school activities that would conflict. A great way to fix this issue is cutting out extra classes that aren’t needed to shorten the length of the school day, and also teaching teenagers proper time/sleep management. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • Jessica Lee

    I think starting school later will be beneficial so that students will get another hour or so to get ready for the day. Although, this might not always be beneficial since students might interpret the extra hour as staying up an extra hour the night before. There are pros and cons, but I think getting up an hour later will excite most students.

  • breghida boehmer

    .Do Now: Late School Start
    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/why-school-should-start-later/401489/
    This Link is relevant to the Do Now because it gives a lot of background information and firsthand encounters on why school should start later.

    The article “Should School Start Later”, is focused on how sleep affects academic performance amongst K-12 students, the current education system starts as early as 7am. This is in effect because parents may have to work and can provide transportation to school earlier rather than later. It also acknowledges that this is not the most popular time system designed for children and teenagers. (#MyCMSTargs)

  • D Brown

    I do think it would be beneficial for schools to start later. As a whole, our society is not placing enough value in rest. Being a sleep deprived adult is hard, now add puberty into the mix. Allowing for more sleep/rest could allow our children to enjoy the learning process more, and continue to educate themselves, and isn’t that our ultimate goal… #MyCMSTArg

  • Keely Baccus

    As someone who did extracurricular activities and worked in high school I definitely think that schools should start later. After finally coming home from work or an activity only to be greeted by homework until twelve and then waking up at seven it was a grueling next day. I was constantly on the run and my only down time tended to be the bus ride home. If we could start school just one hour later it would give students a lot more energy to do the tasks of the next day. School would end later, but most parents aren’t off of work until 4:30-5:00 anyway so instead of being dropped off they could be picked up. As for what happens to your after school time, it will shrink, but if you have energy at the end of the day it’s more likely that your homework will get done more efficiently giving you more time. #DoNowFirstBell #MyCMSTArgs

  • brandoncancholareyes

    Yes, I agree that schools should start later in the day considering the fast that our school district allows our high school to start at 8:30. Having more sleep every night will completely benefits the students health and overall performance during class.

  • Jona Vercide

    The amount of stress I feel when it’s a Sunday evening and I realize I have to sleep early in order to wake up early the next day is ridiculous. Due to the abnormal cycle in teens’ sleep schedule, it’s almost nearly impossible to sleep at an ideal time. Realistically, students my age usually don’t fall asleep until 12AM or way past that. And it’s completely not our fault. What I value in education is the learning aspect– not the fact that I have to wake up early in the morning. I personally dread hearing my alarm go off at 6:30AM every morning, because my body just doesn’t have enough sleep to even get out of bed! If school started later, then my body would have the reasonable amount of sleep it needs. Yet despite my complaints about this, I must admit — there is some good that is behind all of this. If school had started later, then after school activities would basically be off the table. Nor would any student be allowed to have work or jobs after school. Though, these things do have a possibility of working out while school starts later but that would mean students would have go home later than 8:30PM. So what’s better? Waking up and going to school early, while being able to leave early before sundown? Or waking up later and going to school later, while having to deal with going home at around 8:30?

    • brandoncancholareyes

      I completely agree with you Jona, I usually don’t fall asleep until 1:30 A.M. and wake up around 5:50 A.M. for Zero-Period, so how an I supposed to get my 8 hours of sleep???

  • Vincent Sims

    I’m a hard working student. We all know hard-working students don’t get enough sleep. Over the past week, I have totaled maybe 12 hours of sleep. School can be a stressful place and it’s even worse when we have to wake up early to get to school on time. You could argue that, this is to simulate a job. But even jobs start later now, it’s a nine-to-five not a 7:30 to 3. I know I’m not the only one who has put in all-nighters to finish an essay. If theres at at least one upside to the situation it’s that if schools started later that means it would end later as well. I’m also a student athlete. The athletics program will have to reschedule practices, extra curricular activities will be out the window, and since I get home later that less time to complete my work before bed.

Author

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a leading scientific and cultural institution based in San Francisco. It is home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and research and education programs, which engage people of all ages and backgrounds on two of the most important topics of our time: life and its sustainability. Founded in 1853, the Academy’s mission is to explore, explain and sustain life. Visit www.calacademy.org for more information.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor