U.S. Education Secretary Pushes for Later School Start Times - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

U.S. Education Secretary Pushes for Later School Start Times

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FELTON, Del. - Should Kent County high schools have a later start time?
Some parents have differing opinions.

"I think if they got more sleep they might be more productive," said Sheila Beasley of Milford.

"I think they should just let things go the way the are. I don't see the sense in it,' said Mark Beasley of Milford.  
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is suggesting that a later school start time would be beneficial, as it would give teens the opportunity for more sleep and make students more productive.

"There's lots of research and common sense that a lot of teens struggle to get up at 6 in the morning to get on the bus or 5:30 in the morning to get on the bus," Duncan told National Public Radio's "The Diane Rehm Show."

Lake Forest school superintendent Dan Curry says there would be a slew of challenges in shifting the school day, even though research has proven the idea effective.

"Many of us have looked at the research and agree that it does make sense," said Curry.
Curry says there are logistical concerns when it comes to shifting a school schedule, like changing bus routes.

"If the elementary kids are home first, instead of the high school kids then a lot of families would lose baby sitters. High school are traditionally the first ones home and they could be ones to receive the younger kids when they get off the bus," said Curry.

Another challenge -- extracurricular activities.
"The later you start, you will run into students needing to leave school early. They would miss their last period in order to travel to an extra curricular activity. When the time changes in the fall it pushes the school day closer to dark," said Curry.

A 2012 study by found that test scores rise for students attending schools at later start time - from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Most medical professionals recommend between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep for students.

"Study after study has shown mornings are very difficult. They're not very awake -- they're groggy, they're not able to pay attention in class," Duncan told the program.

Curry says a larger high school could offer college-like schedules.

"A student could begin first period at 7:30 a.m. or maybe they could choose to begin class second period at 9 a.m. and still get all their credits in. We could do it the most without the least disruption by having a lot more funds for school buses, but since that's not going to happen, we have to consider all of the ramifications and how many other parties are
Duncan says he is leaving the decision up to individual school districts to make the changes.

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