Duh, duh, double-duh. But it'll never happen.
So, starting the school day later benefits teens, huh?
You're kidding. Here's the scoop:
A study of teens at a Rhode Island boarding school found that pushing back the school day by 30 minutes improved concentration, mood and even encouraged students to consume healthier breakfasts. It also reduced tardiness.
The results of the study appear in the July edition of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which also ran an editorial that said a "growing body of evidence that changing the start time for high schools is good for adolescents."
Researchers believe that teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 p.m., and they are often in their deepest sleep at dawn, when they need to rouse for morning classes.
This is one of those obvious findings- and yet this policy will probably not be implemented. Why? Here's three reasons why:
1. An early start time means more time for practice for athletic teams after school-- and NEVER underestimate the power of high school sports.
2. A change to the high school schedule necessitates a change in the elementary and middle school schedules due to transportation issues. Other research has indicated that the little kids should actually go to school earlier, so some school districts have suggested flipping the high school and elementary schedules. However, many parents resist this because their high schoolers are then not home to watch the little ones, who would also get out in the early afternoon, when mom and dad are still at work.
3. An early school day also means more time for after school jobs. Thus teens, their families, and their employers are therefore going to resist the scheduling consequences.
So I personally plan on seeing groggy, half-comatose students in my classes for the rest of my teaching career. And I'm not being cynical --I've seen these changes proposed about every four years or so, and shot down just as quickly over the reasons listed above. But let's face it-- it's a hallmark of modern culture to choose expediency over what's right.