Reschedule school hours

Malcolm Durfee O'Brien, editor-in-chief

I’m not the first to say it and I doubt I’ll be the last, but it is ridiculous that schools are scheduled in such a way that you must wake up at 6:30 a.m. in order to make it on time. Teenage brains do not work in the morning and, unlike college students, most of us haven’t developed the crippling caffeine addiction that makes getting through the morning easy. 

The fact of the matter is that teenage brains do not retain information when it is early in the morning. It’s not their fault either; they literally do not have the necessary wiring to retain the information. By having school start early in the morning, you damage a child’s ability to learn as they are bombarded with information they are desperately trying to remember throughout the early daylight hours. This makes the afternoon, usually the best time to educate, equally as unproductive as the brain, stressed from hours of stimulation, is unable to fully process the new information due to an inability to process the earlier information. 

Research indicates that teen brains wake up at around 9:00 a.m. and then can function on all cylinders for the rest of the day. Therefore, the schedule should reflect such research. School should start at 9:00 and go to 5:00. To any teenager who thinks this is too late, remember that your brain will still be properly functioning until midnight. You have between 5:00 and 12:00 to do whatever you want with your friends, as well as the whole morning which has been cracked open for you. 

Basically, this move will only have advantages. In places that have already implemented a later start to the school day, crime rates among teenagers have dropped markedly, drug use dropped off, the number of violent fights dropped and the number of traffic accidents took a huge fall. Some things that rose? Grades. Grades increased for schools that start later than the current 7:00-8:00 a.m. time frame used by most average school districts. Another item that rose was the number of hours slept, as can be expected when two whole hours are carved out of the morning. 

It is genuinely baffling to me that this move has not been made at a national level. Virtually every major health organization has endorsed it and there is a staggering amount of research on the benefits of a later start. Bottom line, this is one of the best moves we can make for our education system. To help students succeed and to foster a safer world, school should start later.