Don't you hate waking up early in the morning? Almost every weekday, high school students are waking up around six o'clock in the morning to get ready for school, some even earlier. It's not practical for high school classes to start at 7:44. It's just too early for teenage minds to function properly. Our school should start at least an hour later than that. With the extra hour, our attendance would improve, as well as our grades and attitudes. The facts are all there, so why shouldn't the hours change?
For the 1997-1998 school year, the University of Minnesota conducted a study on Minneapolis high schools. Their starting times were changed from 7:15 to 8:40. The results of this change were obvious. Teachers reported that students were more alert during the first two periods of the day and that attendance improved by five percent. After such a revealing study, why aren't more schools catching on?
It's a proven fact that teenagers need between 8 ½ and nine hours of sleep each night.
It's also a proven fact that only fifteen percent of teenagers get the sleep that they need. Can you believe that more than twenty-five percent of teenagers sleep less than seven hours a night? Are you one of those teenagers? Well, part of the reason why this is happening is because school starts so early in the morning. If school hours were changed, teenagers would be much healthier and feel better about themselves.
Furthermore, school officials are always complaining that so many of their students are constantly tardy to school. They even have a policy in our school that states, if you are tardy five times to a certain class you have to stay an hour after school sitting in detention. Out of the many reasons students receive an office detention for being tardy, it's usually due to their first period class. They don't get to school on time because they oversleep. With an extra hour, don't you think it would be much easier to get to school on time? According to the Michigan study, attendance for every grade in all of their Minneapolis high schools improved. So if these school officials don't like students being tardy, why don't they consider having school start later?
Additionally, with the high standards for getting into college nowadays, it is necessary to get good grades. Studies show that students are more alert after nine o'clock. With school starting at 7:44, the first two periods seem like a waste. Students aren't learning to their full potential, and as a result aren't getting the grades they are capable of. Over twenty percent of all high school students fall asleep in school at one time or another. It's hard to learn while you're sleeping. Also, part of the reason why students don't get enough sleep is because they are up late studying. You can't expect students to come home from school, study, eat dinner, do their homework and then go to bed right away. Teenagers need to watch TV, talk to their friends, and run errands after school. We aren't machines; we need fun in our lives. With an extra hour of sleep, we will be refreshed and ready to learn for our first couple of classes.
While many people say that if schools started an hour later, kids would just be staying up longer and goofing off, they're wrong. When teenagers get cars, they need to be able to pay for the gas, insurance and other expenses. Therefore, they need to get a job. However, to handle a job and your schoolwork is tricky. Having that extra hour, students could have time to relax and wouldn't feel as rushed to do everything they have to do. Another argument against having schools start later is that there would be no time for after school programs. They don't realize that an hour later isn't that big of a deal. School would end at 3:15, and sports would begin around 3:30. For the sports that have to go outside to practice, it's during the early fall and spring. During that time, it doesn't get dark until about six. So sports would be the same, and have the same routine. So what's the problem? There is none. School officials need to stop making excuses against this.
In a nutshell, I believe all schools including ours should adopt this schedule of beginning the school day an hour later. With an extra hour of sleep, students would have better attendance, better grades, and a better attitude towards school. What is the use of trying to teach kids that can't learn? Sending kids to school before they have had ample time to wake up will only result in them not learning to their full potential.