There is a debate building about school start times, and it’s getting hotter each month. Just in the last couple months the Northshore School Board, Seattle School Board, and now Olympia School Board has heard from community members who want to start secondary schools later, at a time that students can be alert and do well.
Thousands of parents, students, and educators have joined together in signing petitions to start school later. The Northshore group called PALS (Parent Advocates for a Later Start) has 1552 signatures, the Seattle petition has 2717 signatures, and the national petition has approximately 500-600 signatures from Washington state (of over 6000 nationally). That is almost 5,000 local people who are concerned enough about this issue to take action.
This is an election year, and many candidates have discussed the importance of strong education for our young people. Starting school at a time when students can learn has been shown to improve academic achievement and behavior and safety in many ways. At a time when budgets are pinched, starting classes at the right time is a straight forward way to improve the quality of education. This can be done without increasing expenses, and has in some districts across the nation. I hope that candidates will weigh in with their support of starting school later, as the volumes of medical research shows is best.
Here are some resources you can use to voice your support of later school start times for teens:
Northshore petition http://www.change.org/petitions/northshore-school-board-start-high-school-later
National Start School Later petition http://signon.org/sign/promote-legislation-to.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=1521139