A review of the pros and cons of later school start times.
| There has been a large controversy regarding whether or not school should start later in the day, or if the time already in place is suitable for students and teachers alike. The majority of the group who is on behalf of starting the school day later are students, and the majority of those opposing later start times are teachers, coaches, and parents. I happen to fall into the category of opposing later start times for schools, but I will present both the pros and cons of the argument.
Many students believe that starting school at a later time would benefit everyone and not just students. It has been proven that the brain is not fully functional until about ten in the morning. Schools typically start at eight o'clock, persuading many people to be in favor of starting school at a later time. It is believed that by starting school at a later time in the morning, say ten o'clock when the brain is fully functional, grades will show improvement not just in one student, but in the student body as a whole.
Another reason why students are in favor of starting school at a later time is the fact that students and teachers alike will get more sleep and achieve the recommended sleep time for their age group. Sleep is one of the most important things the body needs to function. It is a known fact that the body is not as functional when it is tired than when it is fully rested and energized. Starting schools just an hour later would be a small step towards achieving this goal.
Starting schools later in the day doesn't consist of all pros though. Starting schools later will not do anything to a students' sleep schedule. If the school day starts later, the school day will end later. The students that are involved in extracurricular activities or sports will also go later in the day, meaning those kids will be home later, and will be forced to go to bed later. This doesn't just go for students involved in after school activities though; every student is assigned homework, and these students will stay up later doing that homework. If schools started later, everyone's day would end later, defeating the purpose of getting more sleep.
A second con of starting schools at a later time is the prediction of students staying up later every night since they don't have to get up as early in the morning. This doesn't seem like such a terrible thing, but one of the largest reasons that students want school to start later, is so they can get a few more hours of sleep. If they stay up later, the purpose of starting school later is completely defeated. In addition to not getting the recommended hours of sleep, staying up late has many negative health effects. By staying up late into the night, many sleeping disorders can occur, and it has also been known to cause insomnia.
This issue has been growing over the past few years. Although there are a few benefits regarding later school start times including full brain function at the start of school, and better sleep hours, there are also some fairly large cons that put up a good fight. Most of the purposes of later school start times are defeated, including the cause of possible sleeping disorders and insomnia. This topic is a hard one to decide on because of all of the pros and cons, but I feel that the cons outweigh the pros.