Think About It: Time For School - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

January 9, 2013

Think About It: Time For School

Could a later start time for school make a difference in Hawaii? There have been lots of studies that show how young adults internal clocks simply aren't set for early arising, and we all know what sleep deprivation does to the body and mind, so what about some careful consideration here to moving the school start time back 30-60 minutes daily? Yes, this would also help with AM congestion, as cars would be on the roads at different times. Yes, this would interfere with some end times and after school activities and perhaps some work schedules of part-time workers who attend schools.

But if we can give our kids a better shot to succeed by simply acknowledging the reality of adolescent sleep needs and body rhythms, and if having 30-60 more minutes in the AM would allow for greater chances of sleep and perhaps nutrition due to not being so rushed, isn't this a study we should be seriously pursuing locally now? Apparently, it's worked quite well outside of Minneapolis, in Massachusetts, and in Kentucky, where car accidents rates actually decreased for 16-18 year olds when school started an hour later. Watching kids in cars in the early AM here as parents try to beat the traffic rush is like watching an episode of the "Walking Dead". One can only imagine what the first couple of periods are like for teachers as youthful zombies arrive at 7:30 or so after the slow, plodding commute to town in semi-darkness each morning.

So for the sake of the kids and to help ease the morning traffic conundrum, let's revisit start times for schools in Hawaii. A better nourished, more awake student is surely more likely to feel better, see better results, and there is real proof elsewhere that a later start time to the school day works. Better student performance, happier adults, fewer accidents, less traffic. It's surely worth a look. Think about it…

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