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Why classes should not start later in the day

8%3A15+a.m.+is+an+ideal+start+time+for+school.
Rachael Moon
8:15 a.m. is an ideal start time for school.

If you’re a student at Palatine High School, you’ve likely wondered why late starts are only every other Tuesday, and why 9:35 a.m. isn’t the regular starting time for PHS. However, I think that 8:15 is a good start time for school.

If 9:15 a.m. was the start time and classes ended at 3:30 p.m. like usual, classes would be shortened. Teachers wouldn’t be able to teach as much as they normally should in one class period and class material would have to be condensed, or the school year would be longer. To avoid that, if the start time for classes was pushed back, the end time would be too.

However, this would do more harm than good. The change in time would push students’ activities back, leaving them less time to do homework and pushing into the time students have to sleep.

If we started later but kept classes the same length that they are on a normal schedule, school would end at 4:30 p.m., which is when most clubs end. Clubs and sports would be pushed back to adjust and compensate for the new schedule, and in turn, would leave less time for students to study, do their homework or attend jobs. 

“If my usual 3:30-5:30 p.m. practice ended an hour later, I wouldn’t get all my homework done,” varsity Poms member Klaudia Dudzic said. “I’d probably give up after like an hour, especially if it ended that late.”

Starting classes later would also significantly impact students from lower-income households, particularly if they have jobs to help their family. They would start and end work later, leaving less time to study or sleep a healthy amount. 

Barrington High School, a school in District 211, recently tried to change their start time, however, due to complaints from parents, they did not go through with the change, because it would affect parents’ schedules.

If parents drive their kids to school or pick them up, they likely wouldn’t be able to if they work. Students would need an alternative way to get to school, such as carpooling or a bus, which isn’t available to everyone.

Barrington’s school website also mentions that the change would have “cost the district $246,000 more next school year, as more buses are needed to manage the new start times”.

In 2019,, California approved Senate Bill 328, which “requires high schools to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.” The law is supposed to improve students’ sleep schedules, and in turn, improve their grades. 

One school that has been operating under this schedule for 3 years before the law had been passed has addressed the problem of transportation. The superintendent, Robert Frausto, said that he has bus drivers drive in shifts, and that it works very efficiently.

Fremd High School, a school also from District 211, starts earlier than Palatine High School does – they start classes at 7:30, 45 minutes before we do. However, they also get out earlier than Palatine students do, at 2:45, compared to our release at 3:30. 

This difference in schedules means that students from Fremd leave their after school sports and activities earlier than we would at Palatine, and have more time to do their homework, study, or have tutoring. Nevertheless, Fremd’s students are still likely to get around the same amount of sleep as Palatine’s do, because they need to wake up earlier.

However, school districts with later starting times showed significant improvement in students’ academic performance in school – they discovered that students coped with their workloads much better. A study done by the University of Minnesota that included 9,000 high school students discovered that grades, test scores and the overall performance of students’ grew significantly when school start times were switched to later hours.

“I worked at Academy North…the kids started at 9:15 every day…. And I did notice a difference because since they were starting later, I feel like they [were] more awake and ready for the day to start,” Palatine High School psychologist Karena Robinson said. “I’ve noticed that the kids that came in later, they were more energized and ready to go in the morning.” 

However, this isn’t the case for all students, such as student athletes that have practices after school and would get less sleep in order to be able to study as much as their peers do.

“But there’s pros and cons to everything,” Robinson said. “For students that start later, you know, their sports and activities are going to be later in the day, so that cuts into that sleep time a little bit because if you’re going to do sports, you’re going to have to go home and do homework.” 

Unless school ends at the same time, starting later does not leave students enough time to do everything they need to do in a day.

 

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About the Contributor
Tanya Gerdzhev
Tanya Gerdzhev, Opinions Editor
Tanya Gerdzhev is a senior at Palatine High School. She joined PHS Cutlass last year to expand her writing skills and write quality stories for people to read. Gerdzhev is part of the PHS marching band, senior class, National Honor Society, the musical, foreign exchange, and plans to join wellness club as well. Gerdzhev listens to a variety of musical artists like Metallica, ABBA, and The Backseat Lovers. She hopes to pursue a career in finance, but her dream job is to act or to write books. Gerdzhev plans to apply to UIUC and the National University of Ireland. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends, watch movies, and read books. 

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