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Williams: Why a Longer School Day Could Make Learning More Compelling for Kids — and Life Less Stressful for Parents

The 74 Million – Conor Williams

“A recent Center for American Progress brief asks the obvious question: Why not set up the school day to mirror the workday? Public schools’ current schedule, brief authors Lisette Partelow, Catherine Brown, Sarah Shapiro, and Stephenie Johnson write, “requir[es] parents to make tough choices about their income, parental involvement, and child care. Nearly half of all U.S. workers report not having any form of flexibility in their work schedules, and almost 40 percent of all workers do not even have paid vacation time. Public school schedules are not based on student achievement but on an antiquated system that relies on two-parent, one-income households.”” (more)

How Later School Start Times Could Translate to Billions for the Economy

Education World – Joel Stice

If students were allowed to sleep in a little longer during the week, it could pay off in billions for the country’s economy. It’s no secret that a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on one’s ability to focus. It’s a common struggle for many teenagers with an estimated 62 percent of high school students getting less than the recommended eight hours of shut-eye a night. Because of this, many school districts have felt a push to put later start times in place in order to help students get a little more rest. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends middle and high schools start at no earlier than 8:30 a.m., though 93 percent of U.S. high schools start earlier.”(more)

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn’t start school so early. Yet University of Michigan research finds parents are split almost down the middle on whether they support delays in school start times that might permit their 13- to 17-year-olds to sleep later on school days.”(more)

Why Delaying School Start Dates is a Bad Deal for Students

Education Next – Martin R. West

“The scene would have been a civics textbook come to life—had that textbook been produced by the state of Maryland’s summer tourism industry. Flanked by local politicians and business owners, Republican Governor Larry Hogan took to the Ocean City boardwalk on August 31 to announce a new executive order directing all public schools in the state to delay the start of classes until after Labor Day and end the school year by June 15. “School after Labor Day is now the law of the land in Maryland,” Hogan proudly declared. The governor argued that the move will boost late-season tourism, provide families additional vacation time, and benefit the environment by reducing the use of air-conditioning—all without harm to student achievement. He emphasized that the order makes no changes to the requirement in state law that public schools be open “for at least 180 actual school days and a minimum of 1,080 school hours” each year. And he cited a 2014 task force report commissioned by his Democratic predecessor, Martin O’Malley, that concluded “there was no quantifiable evidence that a post-Labor Day start is harmful to local schools systems’.”(more)

Urge children to be safe while walking

USA Today – Liz Kracht

“With school back in session, it’s a great time to encourage our children to be healthy and active by walking to school when possible. There are, however, important safety tips we need to remember. Pedestrian safety is a major concern in the United States. It has been reported that 61 children are hit by vehicles every day in the U.S. In addition, teen and young adult (ages 15-29) pedestrians are more likely to be involved in crash-related injuries than any other age group. Why? There have been studies that have shown this is related to distraction: headphones, texting and use of other handheld electronics while walking. We need to remind our kids to stop texting, put down their devices and take headphones off before crossing the street.”(more)

Preparing kids to go back to school

The San Francisco Examiner – Richard Carranza

“Hard to believe it, but school starts today for our students. We are so excited to welcome every single student back to a great year of learning. I know that getting back into a school routine can be a challenge, so I’d like to share tips on how to make a successful transition. Reasonable bedtimes: We see our share of sleepy kids during the first few weeks of school. If you haven’t already, start settling your child into bed a little earlier. If getting up on time for school is hard for your child, you’ll be glad you started now.”(more)