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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Sleepy teens: High schools start too early

More than four in five high schools start the day earlier than sleep researchers recommend, reports Sarah D. Sparks in Education Week. The average start time is 7:59 am, according to the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey.

Fewer than 1 in 4 elementary schools, but nearly half of high schools, start the day before 8 a.m.

Schools with few low-income students were the most likely to start by 8:30 a.m. or later.

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“The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended since 2014 that secondary schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., to match children’s changing sleep cycles during puberty,” reports Sparks.

“School districts around the country that have moved teenage school start times later have seen measurable, positive results for student achievement and student public health,” state Sen. Anthony Portantino, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.

Hundreds of schools across the country have delayed start times, according to Start School Later, reports Nicosia. If the bill passes, California would be the first state to legislate later start times.

Advocates point to growing body of research that supports the idea that adolescents’ overall well-being and academic performance improve when school starts no earlier than 8:30 a.m., giving them additional time to sleep in the morning.

If passed, the law would take effect by July 1, 2020. 

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