Opinion: Is 8:30 a Good Start Time for High Schoolers?

High Schools Should Start Earlier Rather Than Later

Opinion: Is 8:30 a Good Start Time for High Schoolers?

Addison Ginther

There is a lot of debate and controversy on what time high schools should start. On one side of the argument, educators believe that high school should start later in the day so that students get more sleep, allowing them to focus better in class. While this is a valid reason, there are many other arguments and research in support of high schools starting earlier in the day. 

According to a survey with 1,840 responses conducted by Hamilton Southeastern Schools, only 515 people (42%) of those responses were in favor of the high school and elementary start times being flipped, meaning elementary would start before high school. On the other side, 714 people (58%) were opposed to the time flip. Despite the majority of the survey respondents voting no for the time flip, the school board still decided to swap the times. 

“For survey respondents, child care and extracurricular conflicts were the top concerns for those opposed to the change,” IndyStar said.  

When high schools start later, there is less time in the afternoon for necessities such as after-school activities, jobs, homework, and hanging out with friends. The majority of students participate in extracurricular activities and athletics which is good for the physical and mental development of high school students. In addition, colleges often look for these activities on applications and resumes. Later start times for high school students may negatively impact the ability to participate in these extracurricular activities.  

Another reason school times should start earlier is because of parent’s schedules. 70 percent of parents work between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If elementary and middle school kids are ending before the high school kids, and their parents aren’t home from work yet, there is no one to help get them off the bus. If high school kids ended before elementary and middle school kids, then they would be able to help get their siblings off the bus watch them until their parents get home. This could help out parents tremendously and save them from having to pay for child care. 

Earlier start times for high school will also help with homework. They will have more time to complete homework right after their activity. After their activity, they will either have less homework or none at all. This allows them to go to bed earlier and get more sleep for the school day. 

“When the kids come home and head straight into homework, the work of the day is fresh in their minds,” Care.com said. “It can be easier to help them understand problems being asked or to recall suggestions from their teachers.”  

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, high schoolers aged from 13-18 are expected to get eight to 10 hours of sleep per 24 hours. If the high school took the elementary start time of 7:30, making the students wake up at around  6 o’clock, they would have to go to bed around 8-10 o’clock. Currently 81% of kids go to bed after 10 o’clock. If kids went to bed at this time with the earlier start time, they would get less than eight hours of sleep which would make them more tired in class.  

Overall, high school times should be earlier in the morning to help create time for homework, after-school activities and other things that may need completion while still going to bed at a decent hour.