ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA
By ADRIAN HERNANDEZ
It is the morning of a school day, your clock reads 6:00AM and you think to yourself, “Why does school have to be so early?”
Waking up early on a Monday morning is what many students believe is one of the worst parts about school. Students and faculty alike have argued that a later starting time which allows students to sleep in would be beneficial to their overall health and academic performance. However, later school times have detrimental ramifications outside of a student’s well-being. Allowing schools to start later will not only negatively impact schools, but the families of students as well. If people really want to help students in education and school, people should start looking for another option because later school times will do more harm than good.
For instance, a huge flaw accompanying school starting later is the extremely detrimental impact it will have on families. According to Livescience, on an average all schools start, around 8:00AM and most people start work, according to thillist, between 7:45AM and 8:00AM. The present school starting times allow parents ample time to drop off their children and make it to their jobs on time. Thus, if schools were pushed back an hour from the national average, major difficulties for parents who take their children to school will arise. Starting schools later does not change the time students get dropped off, but only when they start school. This means parents will have to take their kids to school at least two hours early and though some may argue that people could change when they work or their work hours, if every person in a company tries to change their work schedule, not everyone is going to be approved. This majorly defeats the purpose of the change of time because these students are still waking up early to go to school; the only change would be that students have to wait for much later than usual for school to start.
On the other hand, some might say guardians could just pay people or have older family members take their children to school. In spite of this idea, not everyone is able to afford a babysitter or has the luxury of having close friends or relatives that are able to take their children to school. Although some schools provide some sort of early morning daycare, such programs require a sizable amount of money, which could result in other school activities being cut.
Many arguments about ways parents can adapt to the change always have major problems and can never apply to every person. Nonetheless, these ideas to help people with the change are ignorant of the change’s main flaw: starting school later will not help or fix the problem it was made to solve.
A later start time is best supported by the argument regarding student health. Activists and parents alike have argued that a later start will get students to sleep in, but this will not be the end result.
First of all, schools need to be open for a specific amount of time each year and because schools need to fulfill that quota, classes would end much later than it is now. This in turn causes students to stay up late finishing homework, extracurriculars and other personal commitments thus making the change in time amplify a problem that it tried to fix. The only realistic way this problem could be rectified is if there were shorter school days and a longer school year, cutting into our glorious holiday and summer break times.
Though the idea to help students is good at heart, it is more productive to start looking for a better alternative option. Because the main argument for this change is to improve student health through sleep, the best option to help students would be to greatly decrease the amount of homework a student acquires at a time.
According to psychology professor Cari Gillen-O’Neel and her colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the article “To Study or to Sleep? The Academic Costs of Extra Studying at the Expense of Sleep,” if a student sacrifices sleep to study, then they will struggle in class the next day no matter their workload and studying in the day. This suggests that the real cause for a student’s lack of sleep is for sleep has more to do with homework and big projects than it does with the start time. There does not need to be an elimination of homework, however greatly decreasing the student workload would more than likely result in students sleeping earlier. This solves the issue that is brought up with school start time, but without all the major inconveniences and challenges that a later school time creates. There are probably even more options people can think of to help solve this problem, but one thing is for certain: starting school later is not the answer.