From USA Today – If later school start times are better, why aren’t they more popular?

This post was cross-posted on the Burlington School Start Times Blog

This past week, USA Today ran an article about the mixed reception that later school start times receive in many communities.  The article highlighted the conversations that have taken place in Germantown, Tennessee during the past year as they move from a school day that spanned 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.  to a school day that ran from 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

One of the points made in the article is that the later start to the school day cannot happen in a vacuum. There must be other conversations that take place to ensure that students are learning about healthy sleep routines.  Sleep expert, Dr. Merrill Wise notes the following in the article:

“We are living with a sleep deprivation epidemic…(The school day) one of the most modifiable factors that parents and school personnel could pursue…But a later start time isn’t solely the answer. Families have to be educated about healthy sleep schedules, prying electronic devices away from children at night and creating routines that lead to more sleep…Without those factors, schools may not see much difference in their children”

The article goes on to cite other struggles that schools across the country have had with the transition to later school start times (i.e. cost implications for transportation and later start and end times for extra curricular activities).  The balanced look at the issue also contains links to other articles on the topic, including the following:

High Schools, wake up to later start times: USA Today’s Editorial Board’s View

Later start times disrupt families: Opposing View

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