One New Jersey public school district has found the solution to having tired kids in classes all day – they’ve implemented a later start time for the school day.
In a letter to parents, NBC New York reports, the City of Burlington Public Schools system explained the reasoning behind the change to school hours.
The letter noted: “There is extensive research that finds that teenagers are getting too little sleep and later school start times improve learning outcomes.”
Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the first bell for elementary school students will be at 8:25 a.m., with start times for the middle and high schools being pushed to 8:05 a.m. and 7:55 a.m., respectively. The schools will dismiss at 2:55 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 2:40 p.m.
While this change is only a 20 minute later start than the schools had before, the district believes the small change will allow children to be more rested. The letter noted: “Student attendance is very important. The education of our children is critical for their future. Every day matters!”
Those commenting on the NBC New York Facebook post about the story weighed in with their thoughts, with a range of reactions. One commenter noted: “I agree kids have so much to do and even if school starts a little later keep in mind that some kids get on the buses before 7am. And you really can’t compare high schoolers to adults. They still have a great deal of brain development happening.”
Another commenter didn’t agree, however, saying: “Dumb idea. Later starting won’t generate any better results. Later school starts, later kids will go to bed. So what do these kids do when they become employed and have to clock in at 6:30 or 7 am? Every generation before them dealt with it successfully…so should they! Grow up and stop being pampered!”
One person responded: “Wrong, the studies from Harvard, Yale and MIT have shown that kids are starting too early and not getting enough sleep.”
Another parent offered this personal experience: “Why are they not getting enough sleep? Video games, talking on the phone? My kids were very active in high school. During the week they had many school activities including early morning swim practice. They still got the sleep that was required. It is call managing your time. They didn’t have a problem in college because they knew how to manage their time.”
One commenter pointed this out: “Some schools start at 7:00 a.m. A teenager’s body clock can’t handle it. The first classes suffer for it. Plus they start having lunch at 10:00 a.m. It’s nuts.” That was meant with plenty of disagreement, with one parent offering: “Both my children had 7:10 am start, bus came at 6:45…honors & AP classes…Always on honor roll and worked part time…stop coddling these kids and teach them responsibility.”
Another commenter was in full support of the slightly later start, offering this explanation: “The issue is them not getting enough sleep when they play after schools sports and have hours worth of homework and studying. I think it’s a great idea.”