Spend Millions To Let Teens Sleep Later?
If you ask the teenager who lives in my house, the natural sleep times for an adolescent are about 2:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. I actually think setting high school start times for noon would be a great step forward for society in many ways (eliminating that late afternoon time when so many teens are unsupervised, for example), but back on planet Earth, the decades-long debate over school start times focuses more on whether school should begin at, say, 7:20 a.m. or 9 a.m.
In Fairfax County, the debate over school start times has dragged on for years, but a task force appointed by the county school board has proposed major changes that would make teenagers' lives a good deal more sane. High school would no longer start at around 7:20, but more like 8:35 a.m. To make that happen, start times for middle schoolers would push even later than they are now, to about 9:20 a.m. for many kids.
To debate this proposal, Phyllis Payne of SLEEP, the Fairfax group pushing for later start times, and Patricia Velkoff, a high school parent and task force member who voted against the plan, join me today on Raw Fisher Radio. The show streams live at noon and can be found anytime thereafter at www.washingtonpost.com/rawfisherradio.
"We don't send kids to school hungry, and we shouldn't send them to school sleepy," says Payne, who argues that later start times for teens has been shown to improve discipline and academic performance in schools, cut teen driving accidents and teen depression, and make students more likely to become engaged in their classes.
But spending the money necessary to adjust bus schedules in a big county such as Fairfax, as well as all the other economic effects of shifting the hours of schools, is just not a priority, given the need to pay attention to childhood obesity and other health and safety issues in public schools, says Velkoff.
Lots more from both of them, on today's Raw Fisher Radio. Please join us.
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