Hey, there! Log in / Register

Councilors: It's past time to let high-school kids sleep in

City Councilors want Boston to join the ranks of communities pushing back high-school start times to give sleep-deprived students a better jump on the day.

The council unanimously approved holding a hearing on the idea of starting high school as late as 8:30 a.m. Nearly half the city's high schools currently start at 7:20 or 7:30 a.m., councilors said.

At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, a former teach at East Boston High School, says giving kids even just an extra hour of shuteye could reduce tardiness, absenteeism and even obesity and depression.

Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), who sponsored the hearing request with Essaibi-George, said that when Nauset High School on the Cape pushed its starting time back "tardiness fell and grades rose, almost immediately." He said medical studies have shown teens need nine hours of sleep a night - but he doubted any in Boston get anywhere near that much.

Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury), chairman of the council's education committee, added there's a uniquely Boston reason to start school later: Now that almost all secondary students have to find their own way to school, they need more time because "the MBTA, it sometimes breaks down."

Neighborhoods: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

I'd like them to force my employer to allow me to sleep in late.

Cheers.

up
Voting closed 0

As an adult, thats a choice you make. Where I work we start at 9:30am-10am. If a competitor offered me an extra $1,000 a year but a start time of 7:20am id decline it.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm also outside of the 9-5 shift, and I've never been happier. I come to work at 10, sometimes 10:30, and work until I'm done. I exercise at night as well. I remember having to sometimes show up at 8 am for my last job and I was definitely operating at 50-60% efficiency.

up
Voting closed 0

I drive after morning rush hour and leave for home after 7PM. My commute is 40 minutes. With a regular 9-5 job, my commute would be up to 2 hours each direction.

I can afford a decent home outside the city. I can't within 128. Non traditional hours are great for me.

up
Voting closed 0

I am not entirely sure we are speaking to an adult here if they want to blame the state for considering alternatives to state schools and then relate it to a job he is voluntarily paid to do!

up
Voting closed 0

I'd like them to force my employer to allow me to sleep in late.

You start at 7:20 am? Then by the standards that these students are held to, you already ARE "sleeping in late". Show up at work at 7:20 or GTFO with your stupid "kids today" crap.

up
Voting closed 0

I think this is a fantastic idea. 7:30 is far too early for a school start time, especially for a teenager.

up
Voting closed 0

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin314.shtml

There are many articles about the pros of later high school start time. Hope this link will work here.

up
Voting closed 0

I think it's a great idea to allow teens more sleep. I know I dragged through most days when I attended Latin. The first bell being at 8:00, as I recall, made it necessary for me to rise and NOT shine by 6:00 or so because of the commute from Dorchester Lower Mills. Lack of sleep was one of the reasons I hated going to that school.

Questions: How many high school students are there in Boston? And how will adding them to a later commute affect the T's scheduling (for instance, will more trains need to be added, with lesser headway between?)

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

up
Voting closed 0

on both the subway and buses, regardless. Although I agree on the later start times for schools, we need more buses and trains earlier as well. I can't even get a seat on the buses before 6:15 am out of Southie.

up
Voting closed 0

are a bigger concern, considering how many of them are rerouted specifically to accommodate students going to school.

Oh, and here's a number of how many students use MBTA every day:

Taking the T to School - More than 15,000 students ride the MBTA to school every day using free passes provided by BPS. For the 2015-16 school year, these passes will expand from a five-day pass to a full seven-day pass.

http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/Page/2008

(Not saying it's the best or accurate number, but it's a number...)

up
Voting closed 0

Maybe it changed, but you were also supposed to be in home room by 7:45am otherwise you were tardy. If you didn't make it be 7:51am, then you were absent for the day.

up
Voting closed 0

that schools in the City don't have big ass parking lots like those in the 'burbs. Kids could drive to school and not have to rely on public transportation.

up
Voting closed 0

Ha, ha, ha, ha!

up
Voting closed 0

School should be 8:30 to 4:30. Allows kids sleep and allows parents to work a job. No reason a kid should be at school at 7:25 have lunch as early 12 10:45 and out at 2 PM.

up
Voting closed 0

The city should mandate that kids get the hell off their Internet devices and go to bed before 11:00pm.

up
Voting closed 0

.

up
Voting closed 0

... only cite some relevant scientific references regarding how your rote knee-jerk response is somehow superior to the science behind this discussion.

up
Voting closed 0

While I agree with you as a knee jerk response.. however..

Lately I've been asked how to setup blocking on routers for people. Mostly friends who are parents of teenagers (seems like all my friends have kids this age right now). A few have asked how to block things with their router because they caught their teenager awake at 2am doing things they shouldn't be online.

Once I suggest instead to just add their kids devices to the router to only allow access between certain times, they jump. I think I've done 10 of these so far this year. I have two more to do this weekend (via a remote support session)

Yeah not scientific but teenagers do stay up too late.. at least according to my client base.

up
Voting closed 0

They're staying up late because their bodies are hard-wired that way. The studies show that it really is harder for them to get to sleep at an hour that allows them a full night's sleep before getting up for school. It's not just a preference, it's biology.

up
Voting closed 0

While I don't discount the possibility that there may be some "hard-wiring" involved, I haven't yet seen anything that looks like scientific evidence of it -- and I think it's bad science to claim a biological connection when you haven't controlled for environmental factors. I do know that there's such a thing as "sleep hygiene" (not my term), basically a set of practices and behaviors that encourage good quality sleep, and that some studies seem to indicate that screen time before bed interferes with good sleep, as do some other behaviors. I don't think that teens, or anyone, is "hard-wired" to be awake at 2 am, but if they are, what then? Changing the school start time to 8:30 am or 9 am isn't going to make enough difference if kids are wide awake at 2 am. So, I think if you want to solve the problem, you need to attack it at both ends: a somewhat later start in the morning, and encourage good sleep hygiene to shut it down earlier in the evening.

up
Voting closed 0

I agree that a later start, even 9am, is better for teenagers. They should also have a later end to the day. Less time to hang out and get in trouble.

up
Voting closed 0

I sincerely hope this will not turn out to be a bunch of curmudgeonly comments about how back when they were teens, they "went to school at 6/7 am and sucked it up!" or "Can you get my employer in on this? hurr hurr"

Teenagers need their sleep. Extra sleep = better performance in school.

Now, if only the homework load could be overhauled as well. I remember getting about five hours a night from sophomore to senior year thanks to school + hw + athletics.

up
Voting closed 0

Thousands of Teenagers added to the morning and afternoon rush hour commute on the MBTA, what could possibly go wrong?

up
Voting closed 0

There is tons of research backing up the idea of starting high schools later in the morning in order to align better with teenage circadian rhythms.

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/02/sleep-deprived.aspx
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/why-school-should-s...

Often practical, schedule-related arguments are made against such a shift. The idea that older siblings need to be home in the afternoon to help take care of younger siblings is often cited. In cities and towns where high schoolers are still bussed (as opposed to the T here), the idea that there need to be multiple waves of busses to get all students to school is often a reason against it.

But if the research supports the fact that kids aren't learning as well as they would, why on earth don't we prioritize that? School isn't simply something we should work around our own practical needs with regard to transportation and childcare.

up
Voting closed 0

9:30 start times for elementary school are insane. Elementary-aged kids have been up for at least two hours by that point.

up
Voting closed 0

9:30?? I'm not from MA originally, but is that normal? The school times in my homestate (TX) were weird and they went

8 am: Elementary school
8:50 am: Middle school (Don't ask me why)
7:30 am: High school

up
Voting closed 0

but my kid's K-8 goes approx 9:30-3:30, it starts about 10 minutes earlier for K1 and K2

up
Voting closed 0

If there is any governmental group with a clear understanding of the benefits of sleep, extra and otherwise its our Boston City Council.

up
Voting closed 0

City Council has absolutely ZERO authority over this issue. Just another way for Tito to get his name in the paper, again, for his upcoming campaign for Mayor. Why don't they try and regulate what time planes leave Logan in the AM too, and what time the sun comes up, they have just as much say in those matter as this. Their constant call for "hearings" on issues they have no say in is getting tiresome and is a blatant waste of taxpayer dollars.

up
Voting closed 0

For your fevered brow.

Jackson had nothing to do with this proposal - it was sponsored by Essaibi-George (you know, the councilor who was a teacher until Jan. 1 or thereabouts) and former early rising BLS student Matt O'Malley.

Jackson's quoted only because of his crack about the T. Don't worry about this making the papers, at least not tomorrow - as far as I could tell, I was the only reporter there (give the man some credit - if he had sponsored it, you know he would have held a press conference on the steps of City Hall first).

You're right: City councilors have little direct control over anything. BUT they have the power of the bully pulpit to call hearings on issues. That is part of their job. You make it sound like this is something new; it's been like that in all the years I've covered them.

up
Voting closed 0

Won't kids just go to bed later?

up
Voting closed 0

cram more school buses on the road during rush hour! Brilliant move!
God I love this city! Sometimes I think idiots only live in rural areas or the suburbs...then you start paying attention to Boston politics and wham! You realize idiots are EVERYWHERE.

up
Voting closed 0

It's the same number of kids during rush hour, just shifted a half hour or so. And we're talking about middle and high school kids, who are already taking T buses and trains.

up
Voting closed 0

Been commuting to work in Boston goin on 15 years now. Always considered rush HOUR to be 8-9am, as that is when you are guaranted to crawl no matter what road you are on, but what do I know?

up
Voting closed 0

The Irving middle school in Roslindale starts at 7:00 am!!! Which is insane. Kids taking the bus there probably have to get up around 5:00. Then they sleep through the first 2-3 hours of class. And then they can do the extended day until 4 or 5 (can't remember which). That is a longer work day than most grownups. I think it's crazy.

up
Voting closed 0

Is it me, or does anyone else think that these students will simply look at this as an opportunity to stay up even later...making it a net zero gain?

up
Voting closed 0

Later start times have been tried in other places for as long as two decades, along with evaluations of sleep patterns.

Before the later school start time was instituted, many parents and administrators expressed a fear that students would merely use the later morning start time as an excuse to stay up an hour later on school nights. The data, however, show that this did not happen. Students continued to go to bed at the same time (approximately 15 minutes before 11 p.m.). This finding makes sense from a biological perspective, as it is likely that nighttime circadian rhythms were contributing to feelings of sleepiness around 11 p.m, regardless of what time the students woke up in the morning. Minneapolis students slept about an hour more each school night (due to the later school start time) than their peers whose school began at 7:30 a.m.

Minneapolis study.

Seeing what actually has happened as a result of later high school start times over a considerable period of time is probably a better guide to what happens than conjecturing about theoretical teenage behavior.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't buy it.....teenagers are notoriously lazy and undisciplined.

up
Voting closed 0

Says otherwise.

They are lazy and undisciplined 30 year olds. They are normal teenagers. Get over yourself, puhhhhleeezzze!

up
Voting closed 0

She cited an ACTUAL study of what ACTUALLY happens.

up
Voting closed 0

The only study I know about looked at 25 kids in the 1990's. For all we know, those kids' nighttime schedules revolved around prime time TV, which was still a thing in the 1990's.

up
Voting closed 0

Of course the experts know more than parents, right?

Just leave it to the "experts" who have been running our schools into the ground?

BPS has been run by "experts" with nothing to show for it...the worst schools in the state.

An actual study written by people with an agenda.....a political one at that.

Experst have been telling us what is best for awhile now.

Oh, wait...here's an ACTUAL news story of what ACTUALLY Happens!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/sat-scores-at-lowest-leve...

up
Voting closed 0

You mean ONE study of a small town in Wayzata Minnesota? LOL!

up
Voting closed 0

When I was the Boston Public School system in the 60s and 70s, start time was 8:20 AM for both grade school and high school. My high school Boston Latin included. I don't know what idiots decided to make it earlier or why, or exactly when the earlier start time started. Even 8:20 AM is a little early for highs school age students. It is a physiological fact that teenagers need more sleep and would consequently learn better.

up
Voting closed 0

Because the buses run one route after another

up
Voting closed 0

8:30?!
8:30?!

In my day, we, uh. Never mind. I can't remember what time school started back then.

up
Voting closed 0