Support for later high school start time -199 Responses

Jan 05, 2015

Is it coddling, or a smart way to increase performance? The debate over pushing high school start times back to a later hour has been hot in recent years. Supporters of such efforts, which include the American Academy of Pediatrics, argue that teen sleep patterns naturally fall later than those of younger children or adults, causing academic performance to suffer in the early morning hours. In the wake of an announcement that Portsmouth High School was seriously considering making the shift, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members to voice their thoughts on the question, "Would you support a later high school start time in your town?"

A majority of those directly responding to the question – 56% - said they would be likely to support a later start time for schools in their community, with 44% opposing such a change. Of the total number of commenters, 31% opted not to give a yes or no answer, and instead discussed broader issues. In sum, the LFDA received 77 specific comments supported by 122 concurrences, for a total of 199 citizen responses.

Those in favor of a later high school start time argued that it would help students perform better, with some sharing personal anecdotes of the challenges their children or they themselves have had with early classes. "Sleeping later in the morning will help them learn better in school," one commenter noted. "There's no reason to start the school day for teens so much earlier than that for working adults or younger children," argued another.

Those opposed to the change maintained that altering school schedules to accommodate sleep patterns failed to reflect the challenges of the world teens would need to live in once they left school. "High school is prep work for the work world," one poster noted. "If school starts later, the kids will just stay up later on their phones, computers, and so on," said another.

Some of those who did not give a yes or no response to the question discussed other issues related to the school calendar, such as the change to a twelve-month school year. "Kids don't need to work on the farm anymore," one poster said. Others weighed the pressures faced by families due to early or later school start times. "Most parents who work have to get up and out the door by 7AM," another commenter noted.

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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