Designed to Fail
It is crucial for the safety and healthy well-being of students to start schools later than the 7:00am hour. This problem is often trivialized as kids staying up too late or kids whining about hardships, but the facts are much more complicated than that.
Visit http://www.startschoollater.net/myths-and-misconceptions.html to learn more about this issue. Also, for a student to get 9 hours of sleep under the current schedule, they would need to be asleep by 8:30pm. With many students not arriving home from school events or sports until at least 9:30pm, this is not possible. Also, due to a shift in circadian rhythms, waking a teen at 5:30 for school is equivalent to having an adult wake at 2:30am to go to work.
Couple that with the darkness students must cope with while getting to school and it is hazardous. The current early school system schedules are a design to fail.
Since when do high school students need 3+ hours of sports practice every night? Since when is it OK to sacrifice medically researched sleep needs? Since when is it better to cut transportation costs at the EXPENSE of student health. Don't be fooled. These early school starts only happened in public schools when they streamlined busing schedules and recycled buses and drivers 30 years ago. While it was viewed as a cost savings boon, no one back then knew the long-range implications on sleep. Now, the research is too compelling to ignore. Let's stop sacrificing the real sleep needs of students to save a fast buck. We'd never restrict students from being able to eat, but yet we are restricting students from getting the sleep they need with these overbalanced schedules.
Ironically, sport programs expanded to fit the "extra time" kids had b/c they were out of school so early. Now, this expansion is somehow viewed as a requirement.