A growing number of public school administrators are capitulating to the obvious — that it is better for teenagers to get extra sleep at home than in the classroom. It’s about time.
It has taken several decades for them to come to that position although one suspects that they have known all along that starting the high school day an hour later is more suitable to teenage biological needs and enhances performance through, among other things, improved attentiveness. After all, studies over several decades have repeatedly verified this. I’ve been advocating it for that long.
A University of Minnesota study 15 or so years ago proved fairly conclusively that just the small change to meet the sleeping habits of 13- to 18-year-olds made a difference in their learning curve. The Minnesota researchers recently followed up with a study of eight high schools in three states before and after they changed their schedules to later start times that showed marked improvement in several areas, including mental health, standardized tests, attendance and even car crash statistics.