At the best high school in the U.S., according to U.S. News‘ rankings, the school day starts at 9:15 a.m. writes Lisa Lewis on Slate. The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas earned the top spot for the fifth year in a row.
Eight hours a night may be the goal for adults, but teens need between 8.5–9.5 hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Unfortunately, few teens meet that minimum: Studies show that two out of three high school students get less than eight hours of sleep, with high school seniors averaging less than seven hours.
Sure, kids could go to bed earlier. But their bodies are set against them: Puberty makes it hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. When combined with too-early start times, the result is sleep deprivation.
The AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Less than 20 percent start that late. The average is 8:03 a.m., writes Lewis, whose son’s high school starts the day at 7:30 a.m.
In the fall, all Seattle high schools and most middle schools will start at 8:45 a.m. Most elementary schools, four K-8 schools and one middle school will start at 7:55 a.m., and the remaining elementary and K-8 schools will begin at 9:35 a.m.
Some parents don’t like late start times at elementary schools. It must be hard on working parents.