Persuasive SMORE

Should school start later in the morning

Claim

I believe that school should start later because everyone learns better when they're awake.

students perform better in school

Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,000 students at eight high schools in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming and found that shifting the school day later in the morning resulted in a boost in attendance, test scores, and grades in math, English, science, and social studies. Schools also saw a decrease in tardiness, substance abuse, and symptoms of depression. Some even had a dramatic drop in teen car crashes.

Pathologically sleepy

Carskadon’s team found that students showed up for morning classes seriously sleep-deprived and that the 7:20 a.m. start time required them to be awake during hours that ran contrary to their internal clocks. Fewer than half of the 10th-graders averaged even seven hours of sleep each night, which is already below the recommended amount. Indeed, Carskadon’s team concluded the students bordered on “pathologically sleepy.”

So, if the science is so strong, what’s getting in the way of changing the policy?

Counter Argument

One of the biggest concerns about changing the time that school starts is parent work schedules. When school starts at 7:30, most parents can see their kids before they go to school. If school time changes, most parents wont be able to still drive their kids to school and get to work on time. This is mainly a problem for parents of young children, who need supervision while getting ready for school and waiting for the bus. For teenagers, later starting time may lead to more responsibility such as getting themselves up on their own and getting their own breakfast.

Reduced Risk of Teen Crashes

Teen drivers have several factors against them when it comes to their risk of motor vehicle accidents. Some teens drive while talking with friends or texting on their cell phones, taking their attention away from the road. Others are not mature enough to make good driving decisions, increasing the risk of accidents. What many people do not know is that sleepiness is a major factor in teen crashes. In fact, AAA says that drowsiness contributes to more than 100,000 crashes per year. When teens drive while they are drowsy, they have slowed reaction times and have a hard time paying attention to the road. Adolescents are especially at risk for driving drowsy because of early school start times. Moving school start times to at least 8:00 would give teens the opportunity to get more sleep each night.

Fewer Mood Changes

Moody teenagers may not have depression or other psychological disorders. They may be suffering the ill effects of sleep deprivation caused by starting school too early. AASM reports that sleep deprivation leads to anxiety, irritability, lack of motivation and other symptoms of depression. Delaying school start times can reduce these symptoms, as demonstrated by the results of the University of Minnesota study.

Improved Physical Health

Early school start times do not just affect mental ability and mood. They also have an impact on physical health. Sleep deprivation increases the risk for diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Researchers believe that a lack of sleep alters hormone levels and puts additional stress on the body. Early school start times may contribute to diabetes and obesity in several ways. When teens get up very early for school and do not go to bed until late at night, they may eat more than they would if they got an adequate amount of sleep. Additionally, tired students may reach for foods high in sugar or caffeine, hoping that they will get a temporary boost. This puts them at risk for serious health problems.