School start times and its effects on Students

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If you were tired and were very un-alert, how would you perform at your job? Not very good, how do teachers, parent and principles expect us, the students, to perform at the highest level we can without getting the sleep needed to do that? I believe school should start later in the morning, because studies say that students have been more alert. If students are more alert they are more likely to do well in there academic studies.

The people who are for starting school later in the morning are students, parents and some principals. These people are for this, because in the studies that have been conducted students have gotten better grades and there has been less student related car wrecks. "There are data that demonstrate that lack of sleep has negative consequences for teens, and some data show that younger drivers are more likely to have accidents when they have inadequate sleep" Verona, 1).

Although these are good reasons to be for this, there are some people that do disagree, including some principals, who think it wont work, and parents who think it will cut into there work time to take students to school, and the students who think it will affect extracurricular activities. Some principals think that if they start school later that they will be babying the teenagers, and it will not school will not teach teenagers good habits. Also some parents think that it's not the schools fault, but the teenagers, they say teenagers stay up too late, and also they say that the teens don't give themselves enough to sleep. Some parents say that if the schools start later, the teens won't have any time to do what they need to get done after they get out of school. The experts say that schools starting later may be indulging them a little too much. If you think this, here are some reasons that might persuade you to switch sides.

With the earlier start times students have been less depressed, not only did the teachers say this, but the bosses of the students who had after school jobs had said that the student is less depressed and is working harder to do better in his job. Even if the grades didn't go up, the effort is there. Edina and Minneapolis, two schools that have made the change to start later, there after school practices may have been shorter, but these two schools have competed the same, if not better, than they have in the past years.

Some schools are taking action into making extra curricular activities work. There have been reports of schools shortening all of the classes and instead of to two days that are spread out its one big long day so that the schedule would work. The average teenager needs up to nine hours of sleep or even more on a given night to function properly the next morning. Kayla Wahlstrom has done studies with all sorts of different schools. "Students have reported less depression when there was a later start time; teachers reported that students were more alert and ready for the school day" (Wahlstrom, 1). Wahlstrom also found that there were less drop outs when schools started after 8:00 a.m.

20% of students fall asleep in class everyday. Experts say that the start of elementary school times and high school start times are switched. If the start times were based on the sleep cycles of students, high school would start later and elementary would start earlier. Teenagers are at there deepest sleep two hours before they wake up. If something interrupts that period of sleep, say waking up for school, it can leave teens sleep deprived, groggy and un-alert, depressed and will not want to learn. A study at St. Georges High School says that since they have been starting later, students have reported having better moods towards teachers, arrived to class on time, and has even eaten a better breakfast. If the students eat a better breakfast then

"Sleep deprivation can affect mood, performance, attention, learning, behavior and biological functions" (Sheldon, 2). "Sleeping is like eating, it is performing a biological function that is required" (Sheldon, 2)

Some students think this is an exceptionally good idea, as you would imagine. There was a study done at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. Here was what a couple students had to say about starting school in the later hours of the morning. "If I was able to get more sleep in the morning, I would be able to stay awake in all my afternoon classes" (Nazdin, 3). Although some students think this is a very good idea, some don't. There have been reports where students think this shouldn't happen, because they think it will interfere with the after school activities, such as, jobs sports and chores that need to be done at home.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) did a random study on students attending Harrington High School. Here are the statistics of that study. 78% said that it was difficult to get up in the morning. 16% said they thought they got enough sleep. 70% said they thought their grades would improve. 90% thought that the academics of the whole school would improve. Also the students said they did not feel alert or prepared to take a test in the morning. The students also said that they think the ideal time to take a test is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Most students are taking test at 8 or 8:30 in the morning, this time is when students need to be just waking up, not taking tests. A study showed that students who took tests in the afternoon have gotten better test scores than students who took tests in the early morning.

You may not believe me but the statistics don't lie. Every school that has been tested with starting school later, the grades have been better, attitudes happier, less drowsy and less kids falling asleep in class. If the schools do start later they will see dramatic change in the grades, attitudes and there will be less car wrecks. All this information above supports this. In the state of Rhode Island, 201 schools have changed their start times and all have had increases in things I've told you that they would increase in. "I think the evidence really is mounting that it's an undertaking that's well worth at least considering" (Owens, 4). Schools need to start starting later in the morning if they want to start having better grades, fewer dropouts and less car wrecks. Most students start there day at 7:30 in the morning. For at least 75% of those students that is way too early.

Like a said before, teenagers need the minimum of nine hours of sleep, and only 22% of students get that nine hours of sleep. The students that get the amount of sleep that is recommended for teenagers will be the one who get better grades feel better about themselves because they're getting better grades, and they will be less depressed. The students will be more up-beat and more alert if they had not gotten enough sleep. My point is schools need to start starting later in the morning. If they don't, students will keep dropping out and keep getting bad grades. If we start later, none of the bad things will come to the students if we would have started later in the morning. In conclusion, schools all around America need to start later, as you can see a lot of bad things can come to your students if we don't start classes later, including bad grades, depression, and drop outs these are all reasons why schools need to start later.