Reality Check: Are teens ready to learn at 7:30 a.m.?
For more than 20 years, I delivered the news to Alaska. Weekends, 5 o' clock, 6 o'clock, even 10 p.m. -- But the one time you never saw me was in the morning.
Had I ever been given the job of morning anchor, I would have been fired faster than Anthony Scaramuchi. And you don’t even remember "The Mooch" by now.
Needless to say, I’m not a morning person. And you know who else isn’t a morning person? Your Teenager -- mine certainly isn’t. None of the three kids we’ve raised were. It’s just the way teens are wired.
Studies tell us, they typically can’t fall asleep before 11 p.m., which means there is no way they can get their recommended nine hours of sleep and make it to class by 7:30 in the morning.
My son, for example, was once voted most likely to sleep through band. In fact, high school jazz bands typically practice at what’s called “zero hour”. That’s 6:30 a.m.
Let me tell you, there is not a working musician up at 6:30 in the morning -- unless they never went to bed.
Studies say 60 to 70 percent of teens in this country suffer from severe sleep deprivation. And it has an impact on everything from their moods and driving skills, to their ability to learn.
That’s why the Anchorage School District is once again considering moving high school start times back an hour to 8:30 a.m. -- as recommended by health organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It’s not an easy decision.
The school district has only so many busses, which might require elementary kids to start earlier, which could impact on after-school daycare. It would have an impact on after-school activities like sports, and older kids who work part-time jobs.
But the benefits would also be significant. Alert kids simply do better than sleepy kids.
The School District has looked at moving the clock back in the past and decided against it.
For me, I’ve got another year and a half of making sure my teen gets to his first class on time. After that, I’ll be honest with you, I probably won’t lose a whole lot of sleep over it.
John's opinions are his own and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
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