EDITORIAL: Research shows ills of earlier school times


Because of a countywide school scheduling change, Accomack County’s high school students will have to be in class each day at 7:15 a.m. — 15 minutes earlier than the previous start time.

That seems very early for teenage students, especially considering the bus ride and the morning routine could have some students waking up well before 6 a.m. 

More troubling, the school board’s decision also is a direct contradiction of many studies showing later school start times are actually better for high-school-aged students. 

We couldn’t find a study that correlated earlier school start times with better classroom performance — or any other positive outcomes for adolescents. In fact, it is just the opposite. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends middle and high school students start school at 8:30 a.m. or later so they get the sleep they need. 

A University of Rochester Medical Center study found teenagers with school start times before 8:30 a.m. “may be at particular risk” of experiencing depression and anxiety.

Other studies show a lack of sleep for teenagers can be traced to everything from poor health to increased automobile accidents. 

We expect school board members to make decisions that are rooted in sound research. 

And we expect our taxpayer-funded educational professionals — who are experts at trends in education and specialists in adolescent growth — to speak up, counseling and advising our school board members. 

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