Later start times for Utah high schools? Medical science says yes, but logistics can be tricky

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  • DrMAN Orem, UT
    March 20, 2017 7:54 p.m.

    @WJ_Coach I have 2 teenagers at home and teach college (with part of the curriculum I teach being biorhythm changes across the lifespan). I'm familiar with the scientific arguments and evidence. Science is overwhelming in favor of later start times for teens, with a whole host of benefits from doing so. One of my colleagues is a sleep researcher! It's not about throwing them to the "wolves," as you put it, but it's about preparing them for the "wolves." This proposal (of changing start times) does not seem to be preparing them for the realities of adulthood, but rather postponing adaptation to that their detriment. It is them who will ultimately suffer when they cannot hold down jobs because they've been socialized to have society accommodate them when it is them who will need to adapt to accommodate society. A high school or even college graduate with excellent cognitive abilities (4.0, SAT/ACT off the charts, etc.) won't make it far in the workforce if he/she can't get to work on time because their start and end times are at odds with their biorhythms. I'm just saying that their are consequences to the proposal, which some may not fully be appreciating.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 20, 2017 5:29 p.m.

    Again, studies say this would help students (starting school later). And generations ago schools actually started later with rare exceptions. Good grief, the older generation in which I belong is out to lunch (and grumpy)...

  • chhs2 Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 20, 2017 10:34 a.m.

    This needs to be a local decision and not a legislated one. The lawmakers tend to make decisions to be carried out by local school boards without any funding. It is easy to pass laws, but not so easy to fund the changes.

    Where will the money come from? Class load, teacher salary, etc. Unintended consequences need to be examined carefully before the implementation and the legislature is not the group that should be making this decision!

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    March 20, 2017 10:30 a.m.

    If the start time is later in the morning, kids will stay up later (with the blessing of their parents). They still won't get enough sleep.

    According to the Park City HS website, they use a block schedule with periods that are almost 90 minutes long. Many adults can't stay awake in church for an hour, yet we expect kids to stay awake and engaged in a classroom for 90 minutes? It's torture if the teacher lectures for the entire period. Sometimes less is more. Switch to a traditional schedule with 45-50 minute periods and watch how much better the kids perform in the classroom.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    March 20, 2017 10:20 a.m.

    How sad that the first comments dropped on here are inter-generational attacks, ignoring data and science just to lob in a few attacks on today's youth.

    This study has nothing to do with assessing how much better your generation was than the current crop being raised. It has nothing to do with parenting, bedtimes or laziness. The study uses data to prove that our high school start times are literally out of sync with the circadian rhythms of teenagers.

  • HowDoYouDo Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    Quite possibly it is the older generation that is the entitled generation. The junior high that I attended starts 35 minutes earlier now than it did when I went there several years ago. It is interesting to see the creep to earlier times as the years go by.

  • Topher Herriman, UT
    March 20, 2017 9:32 a.m.

    And we wonder where the "entitled generation" came from. It's topics like this that parents buy into, and/or allow, that make for irresponsible entitled brats. Whose idea is this later start time anyway - parents, teachers, students? Let's see who is driving for the change.

    From an earlier comment here: "teenagers growth spurts take a serious toll on their minds and bodies" - what changed about "growth spurts" between now and when I was young? These area excuses adults make for their children. A later start time will not fix this, however, an earlier bed time and no TV on school nights may be the ticket.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 20, 2017 7:05 a.m.

    There is a scientifically proven method to solve the problem of tired teens. It is called going to bed at a regular time.

    Yes we know that scientists have found that when kids enter their teen years their bodies switch to running later at night. However, those same scientists have found that what the teens are experiencing is similar to jet lag, and is cured the same way. You go to bed at a regular time, and get up at a regular time.

    Changing the school start time will only encourage teens to stay up later and get up later, they won't keep the same sleep schedule for a 9 AM start time that they do for a 7:30 AM start time.

  • Musketman Stansbury Park, UT
    March 20, 2017 12:39 a.m.

    You can't cut a foot off the bottom of a blanket and sew it to the top, then think the blanket is am foot longer! If you move the start time back, these same teenagers will simply stay up an extra hour longer. Resulting in the EXACT same scenario! More and more everyday, the world is losing its ability to see simple common sense. Logic is becomming a hard to find commodity, anymore!

  • Mar4k Bountiful, UT
    March 19, 2017 11:21 p.m.

    How lame. They have all this data... but is there any data that shows that starting school later will actually lead to more sleep? I know when I was in high school I would've just seen it as an excuse to stay up later.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    March 19, 2017 10:29 p.m.

    "Early to bed and early to rise" made sense before electricity was discovered. In today's society there are a lot of people that work swing and grave-yard shifts because they aren't employed in an agrarian occupation.

    As to those who sleep later feeling groggy, many also feel "well rested."

    It's now 10:30 PM; read this after you get up tomorrow morning.

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    March 19, 2017 9:38 p.m.

    We had early morning seminary in Portland. Somehow we all made it okay.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 19, 2017 7:06 p.m.

    Politically correct nonsense is still nonsense.

    If a kid "needs" an extra hour of sleep the answer is amazingly easy. Go to bed an hour earlier. That may mean staying off their phone-toys, turning off the TV, shutting down their internet connection and turning off the lights earlier.

    Somehow, thousands of "children" aged 17-19 who enlist in the military manage to get up pretty early and show up for duty at an early hour and do their jobs- a lot more serious task than anything being taught in our schools today.

    Forget this silly "problem" which adults in a family can easily solve without any government programs or changes in school schedules.

  • itswhatithink West Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2017 4:23 p.m.

    It is interesting that fir decades students manages to survive early school start times and parents the world didn't have to revolve around making life easy for the little darlings. At what point do today's youths need to grow up and make wise going to bed at a decent time without a phone or technology in hand...

    Just out of curiosity are all employers now going to need to change office hours so kids are not left at home alone in the morning and parents hope the kids get to school on time....

  • Rogers Lambert Radford, VA
    March 19, 2017 11:28 a.m.

    What a blessing it would be if the Church could find an alternative for early morning seminary.

  • Rogers Lambert Radford, VA
    March 19, 2017 11:00 a.m.

    Along these same lines, what a blessing it would be if the Church could find an alternative for early morning seminary.

  • WJ_Coach West Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2017 10:59 a.m.


    I work in a high school and have 3 teenagers at home... teenagers growth spurts take a serious toll on their minds and bodies... they are more exhausted and simple tasks take more effort when they are tired... this is the real world for a teenager not getting up at 6am to go to their 9-5 job... let them grow mentally and physically before we throw them to the wolves in the workforce

  • California parent Lancaster, CA
    March 19, 2017 10:41 a.m.

    Great idea, but in California the LDS students have early morning seminary that starts at 6am and High school gets over at 3pm if they play sports 5 to 6 and that's not counting YM or YW once a week, when do you do homework or projects? Let's get back to the subject if starting school later works to make better students is it time to rethink early morning seminary?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    March 19, 2017 10:30 a.m.

    There are actually simple things that would help students that we don't do. At the high school level reducing the length of classes. Learning is reduced on the block schedule, nobody, not even grown adults, want to sit in 90-minute classes. Make classes 50 minutes (every day) and if some classes like vocational arts or P.E. need more time, students could block two periods.

    Start the school later. It is nice to say kids can't just get up and that's the real world etc. etc. and then as adults we want our children to be involved in extracurricular activities or have jobs that keep them way past sunset as said above or 10:00 p.m. As for the real world, the real world has changed and many people, especially in the higher paying jobs vs. low-paying service jobs, set their own hours, work at home or have much more flexible hours.

    I think if we want to train our students to be low-paying service workers, then the way school is set up now is perfect. Or we can change to actually proven research-based methods of changing instruction and starting times of school. It is our choice.

  • greencat Kearns, UT
    March 19, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    Our district just had the elementary schools start earlier and the high schools start later.

  • JustTheFacts Mesquite, NV
    March 19, 2017 7:53 a.m.

    The natural cycle is to get to bed at sundown (or at least early) and arise at (or before) sunrise. Just because people have allowed their kids to learn a pattern of staying up later and getting up later, just not make it a new sleep pattern - justified by "medical science." Those that stay up late and get up late always feel more sluggish and tired - compared to the "new cycle." Getting up early allows a person to feel better and get more done in the day. My assertion is not medical science (as is not the science referred to in this article), but empirical observation of a significant number of people over many years. Ben Franklin was astute in this, and accurate, in my opinion.

  • DrMAN Orem, UT
    March 19, 2017 7:17 a.m.

    How might this plan backfire when these students get to college and, more importantly, to the workplace? It's not my experience that employers are responsive to employees' needs for work hours that are responsive to their biorhythms. How might this disconnect affect their abilities to transition into adulthood and the "real world" when "real world" practices are not very interested in adhering to the recommendations of medical science?

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    March 19, 2017 12:10 a.m.

    Why would it cost so much to re-program the bells? I think the costs are not anywhere near stated and are just another excuse to delay needed reform. I wonder how many other things could be done to help students that school boards refuse to do that would also cut the cost of education and improve efficiency. Surely retrofitting some buildings with air conditioning, while expensive, is much cheaper than building brand new buildings so year round schooling/teaching makes sense.

  • Jim Schwartz Fort Lauderdale, FL
    March 19, 2017 12:07 a.m.

    Carol Spackman-Moss is dead right on this. Why didn't the senate get to this bill? Too busy considering lousy legislation and phony resolutions.

    Give the kids and the parents a break. Let them start school at a reasonable time, like 9:00 a.m.

  • SomeClarityPlease Salt Lake City, UT
    March 18, 2017 9:05 p.m.

    And don't forget about the middle and elementary schools. Our times are 7:30 for the middle and 8:20 for the elementary. My times as a kid 30 years ago were 8:20 and 9:00.