An ABC News report examines the issue of later school start times and what US high schools are doing to move towards this goal.
More school districts around the U.S. are heeding the advice of scientists who have long said that expecting teens to show up to class before 8 a.m. isn’t good for their health or their report cards.
The Seattle school board voted last month to adopt an 8:45 a.m. start time beginning next year for all of its high schools and most of its middle schools, joining 70 districts across the nation who adopted a later start time in recent years.
The movement still has a long way to go: There are more than 24,000 U.S. high schools. Supporters expect that such decisions will be made more quickly now that people have mostly stopped debating the underlying science.
Proponents of later start times got a boost last year when the American Academy of Pediatrics said that while starting later isn’t a panacea for teen health and academic problems, it can improve students’ lives in many other ways.
“Essentially, across the board, any domain that you look at improves pretty dramatically,” said Dr. Judy Owens of Boston Children’s Hospital and author of the academy’s policy statement on teen sleep. After the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also pushed for later bell times.