Thursday, October 1, 2009

Timing is Everything

While we are on the topic of things-we-still-do-even-tough-we-know-it's-wrong having to do with schools and time:  In almost every district we visit, the high school starts around 7:30 am and the elementary schools start around 8:30 am.  Numerous studies argue that the biology that takes hold in adolescence points to the need for a later start time for the adolescents taking Biology.  And yet the buses drop-off still dropping off teen-agers at school before picking up the up-for-hours younger students.

The science here is the science.  The case is closed on that.  What seems alarming to me is that we make decisions in our educational institutions, important decisions, based on considerations having nothing to do with education.  We had one district that tried to take on this issue.  The list of reasons why they could not rearrange the schedule included: the bus schedule, the sports schedule, parents needing an older kid off the bus at home before a younger kid arrived, students needing to get to work, and teacher contracts.  All of these concerns should be part of the conversation.  I'm just not sure they should have the most say.

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