Commenters on the AJC Get Schooled blog generally agreed with a policy recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that middle and high schools start later to accommodate the sleeping patterns of teenagers. The AAP recommended classes commence at 8:30 a.m. or later to align school schedules with the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents. Here is a sampling of comments:
Atln8tiv: Why stop with students/academia? I have always been a night owl, yet I drag myself out of bed every morning by 6:00 so I can be at work by 8:00. I often can’t get to sleep before midnight, so I always feel a little sleep-deprived. I understand some jobs have to begin at the crack of dawn (or earlier), but for a great many jobs, I don’t see a real need to keep 9-5 hours, or set hours at all. Much work can be done regardless of the hour or day. If people were able to work according to their own natural rhythms (where feasible), productivity would increase, rush-hour traffic would decrease, and a large segment of the population would be generally happier.
Society: At our private school, there are some high school schedules that don’t start until 10 a.m. You can bet that’s a result of research like this.
Lynn: I totally understand the need for later morning starts. I am 71 and still can’t function at a high level if I have to get up at 5:00 or 5:30. I do what I have to do, but all my life, I have been a night person living in a morning world. I just hate early mornings. Going to sleep earlier does not help the situation.
TeacherToo: If high school start times were changed, we would hear about the inconvenience to high school athletics (football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, golf, cheerleading, etc.) in that there isn’t enough time to practice after school. And what about those kids who have jobs? I can hear the complaints now. I wonder how any farming chores ever got done back in the day. I have always been an early riser, even when I was in junior high and school started at 7:25. My mom told me that it was my responsibility to get up and to the bus stop. Short of a major thunderstorm or ice, I was not to wake her up in the morning. Trust me, I never overslept.
Lexi: The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t need to consider practical impediments when it issues such wisdom from Olympus. Lots of kids are driven to school by parents who need to be at their desks by 8 a.m. or so. And some school systems run double shifts, so starting later means finishing after dark.
TeacherMom4: I like the research, but the problem is also daily schedules of the parents. I have to be at work at the elementary school at 7:30 a.m. I’m not sure if I could depend on my kids to get up after I leave and make it to the bus. For us it’s a moot point anyway; they ride to school with me. There is no bus transportation. My girls are in seventh grade, and middle school doesn’t start until 9:00. They get up at 6:00 to get their ride.