Faye B. Pennsylvania

Lower School Start Times, Raise Awareness

The minor change of start high schools later can positively impact sleep, stress, and standardized testing scores of all students.

Dear Mr. President,

As a successful student, I believe that school start times for high school students should be pushed later towards elementary times, and elementary schools should begin to start earlier at more of a high school start time. This minor change can positively impact sleep, stress, and standardized testing scores of all students.

Firstly, by pushing high school start times towards those of the elementary schools, students would be able to get much more sleep. According the the National Sleep Foundation teens should be achieving at least 8.5 hours of sleep every night. Succeeding this idea is the striking statistic that only 15% of all teens across America are realistically meeting this standard. Lacking sleep can result in limited ability to focus, keep a clear head, or even affect your memory. This loss of crucial skills can directly affect standardized test scores, and students day to day participation in class. Stress levels can also be affected by amount of sleep. With this simple fix grades and sleep will go up, and stress will be reduced. With less anxiety students will be less likely to drink or do drugs underage, because as the National Institute of Underage drink state's, stress can lead to much of the portion of underage drinking that occurs.

Secondly, by pushing elementary start times toward those of high school the elementary student would not be impacted. If these students are going to sleep at 9 o'clock every night, and waking up to go to school at 7 o'clock, they are still getting 10 hours of sleep. As children get older they begin to stay up later which is why older students tend to get a lesser amount of sleep. Yet another benefit of moving school start times is that many parents are working. If they have to leave early in the morning, and their elementary school child is already at school, they can trust a high school student to be able to stay home alone. This allows the parent to hire a babysitter for only the afternoon versus both the afternoon and the morning. This can also lower stress levels in the household.

The future President could make an impact on this topic in many ways. A later school start time could be created, but if that seems to major a change there are many other options. A homework regulation could be put into place, allowing students to be less stressed with work. This would also allow students to look more long term and study better for tests. If student aren’t kept up by work, they will begin to go to bed earlier, without needing to sleep later as much. For the baby sitter situation the president could administrate a early care program at many major elementary schools across the country. A health and wellness campaign could also be commenced, to inform students of what they need to do to be healthy. This could include amount of sleep, stress and homework. At the end of this program the students could vote on a reasonable solution such as later school start times, or less homework. This would help to students to be their own solution, and show them the way to go.

Overall, I believe that the start time for high school students should be lowered, and elementary raised.

From, Faye Berry