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POLL: Should Howard County Schools Start Later?

Parents petition Congress for schools to begin after 8 a.m.

"Saved by the bell" may be a common refrain among students, but parents and teachers are starting to ask if children should instead be saved from the bell.

The Start School Later Initiative, a petition encouraging lawmakers to start school no earlier than 8 a.m., was presented to members of Congress this week with nearly 5,000 signatures from all 50 states.

More than 1,000 of the signatures came from Maryland parents and educators. 

"The [petition] comments range from student pleas for a more humane schedule to educators wishing their students weren't still asleep to health professionals and researchers seriously concerned about the damage we're doing to kids' mental and physical health," said movement organizer Heather Macintosh.

What do you think—are Howard County school hours OK or is there room for change?

Deb Jung February 01, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Sending high school kids to school for a classroom start of 7:25 a.m. is counterproductive to learning. Ask any high school teacher of a first or last period class about student attentiveness during those two times of the day, and s/he will tell how difficult it is for many of the students to stay awake. I have a high school aged student who goes to bed at 10:00 and she struggles to fall asleep at that time. Teens are not biologically wired to fall asleep at 9:30 or 10:00, arise at 6-6:30 and be at a desk ready to learn at 7:25 a.m. It is well past time to address this issue.
Terra Ziporyn Snider, Ph.D. February 05, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Howard County now has a petition to start school no earlier than 8 am (www.tinyurl.com/sslhoco) and its own chapter of Start School Later (http://www.startschoollater.net/md---howard-county.html ). If you're concerned about this issue, check them out!
Joanne Brazinski February 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Even if we don't flip the schedules--which would be a LOT of change--could we just start HS a little later? It might mean we can't reuse the same buses for the middle school run, but we could use those again for elementary school. That would give us a later start without turning everything upside down. Of course, it would probably cost more for the additional buses. Then we can keep after school sports in HS and keep elementary kids in school during most of the business day.
ruth February 24, 2013 at 02:43 PM
What will these high school kids do when they get to college and have early class schedules or when they get a job and have to get up early and often travel for an hour to get to work on time. Put on your big girl/boy panties and deal with it. Does anyone remember when students paid to ride a bus to school? Let's go back to those times and see how parents like that change. Also, if students drive cars to school charge them $50. a semester.
Joanne Brazinski February 24, 2013 at 05:04 PM
College classes don't necessarily start early--none start before 8 that I know of and 99% of my classes started at 9. In any case, teens are biologically different than young adults. They tend to sleep later because of the changes going on in their bodies--it's not just group laziness.

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