It’s around 6:00 am in the morning and your alarm goes off. You groan and dreadingly press snooze. Ten minutes later, you force yourself to get out of bed. You get ready as if you are a zombie, but quickly at the same time because you can't be late for school. You skip breakfast, because your exhaustion makes the sound of food disgusting. You go to school, and run on little sleep even though you have two tests, and one is during first period. How can you perform well in school under these conditions?
The times of high school and elementary schools need to be switched because of student's natural sleep cycles, the fact that high school students perform better in school at later times, and elementary school children will only need care in the afternoon, instead of in the morning and afternoon, in order to benefit students so they can be healthier, perform better at school, and put less stress on themselves and their parents.
The most sensible reason to switch the schedules of elementary schools and high schools, is because of the fact that high schoolers perform better later in the day. A research team that conducted a three year long study of eight different high schools that switched to later times, determined that there were, “Significant increases in grade point average in all 1st-period core courses for all semesters in all grades in Jackson Hole High School in Wyoming, with a start time of 8:55 a.m.” This data is from Phi Delta Kappan (The professional journal for educators), and it demonstrates how making high school start later can improve grades in all first period classes. Schools want their students to perform well, but students simply cannot when they wake up so early.
If high school and elementary school start times switch, younger children will only require afternoon daycare. According to the article "What Is the Advantage of Having School Start Early?", “There are specific advantages for parents if younger grades have early start times. Starting school early may eliminate the need for morning childcare if parents are able to drop off their kids before work.” If children are not in need of childcare parents save money, and stress levels decrease regarding their let’s face it, very stressful children. Plus, having your child only attend daycare in one part of the day is just easier for both the parents and the child.
On the other hand, switching the times of high school and elementary school, will cause high school to end later. According to classroom.synonym.com, “school administrators cited extracurricular activities as a major reason why high school campuses would rather start earlier in the day.” Although this may be sensible at first glance, also consider that if high school students wake up later, they can go to sleep later, ultimately giving them the same amount of time to participate in clubs and sports. Also, in the study from Phi Delta Kappan that was previously mentioned, they discovered a common worry that they never had difficulty with was “Participation in after-school activities may decline.” This exhibits how high schools can have later start times as well as participation in sports and clubs.
The final reason why high school and elementary schools should switch schedules, is because of student’s natural sleep cycles. The article, “Elementary and High School Should Switch Times”, states, “Younger children tend to naturally wake up earlier than teenagers and adults, and they are able to have more energy early in the morning”. Then why wouldn't young kids start school earliest, if they’re already awake and have energy? Plus, teens cannot get a good amount of sleep when school starts so early. According to Phi Delta Kappan, “Teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep each night, a difficult amount to obtain when the brain doesn’t enter sleep mode until about 10:45 p.m. and when students must awaken early for a school day that begins before 8:30 a.m.” These facts clearly illustrate how it is physically impossible for a high school student to get 9 hours of sleep when they are falling asleep at 11, and waking up at around 6 for school. The article also briefly mentions how teens’ brains remain in sleep mode until about 8 am. This means that even if teens are awake before eight, they are not really awake. Schools need to stop encouraging sleep deprivation, for the health of their students.
In conclusion, high school and elementary schools should switch schedules because high school students do not perform well early in the morning, elementary school children would only need afternoon daycare, and high schoolers cannot get enough sleep for school.
If you think about it, when was the last time you got 8 to 9 hours of sleep before school, besides in elementary school?
Anderson, Marie. "What Is the Advantage of Having School Start Early?" Synonym, https://classroom.synonym.com/advantage-having-school-start-early-4526.html. Accessed 09 July 2020.
Campbell, Leah. “Research Shows Early School Start Times Are Bad for Kids’ Health.” Healthline, 13 Aug. 2018, www.healthline.com/health-news/early-school-start-times-bad-for-kids-health#1. Accessed 09 July 2020.
Wahlstrom, Kyla L. “Later Start Time for Teens Improves Grades, Mood, and Safety.” Kappanonline.org, Phi Delta Kappa International, Dec. 2016/Jan. 2017, www.kappanonline.org/later-start-time-for-teens/.