Wake up, honey, time to go to school!

The average time for K-12 classes in America starts at a few minutes after 8 am. Is this early hour good for the student’s grade and health? Most parents don’t think about it because one, you really don’t have a choice unless you transfer your child to another school, and two, we are used to it – it’s been like that for a long time.

Wakeup“Not so fast (or should I say ‘early’),” according to some researchers at the Rand Corporation. Their study into the relationship between start time and the student’s well-being shows that we — students, parents, society at large — are all better off if our school starts later, say at 8:30 am. Students are more awake and learn more efficiently. Parents will be happier because their kids are doing well. The high school kids who drive to school, they don’t get into as many accidents because they are more awake and alert. How does society as a whole benefit? Here’s the big kicker, according to Rand: Society collectively will save 9 billion dollars a year!

It’s hard to verify how much money the country can really save because of the later start time. My take is that as long as we don’t spend extra money on it, and the kids will feel and do better, I’m all for it.

If you would like to read up on the details of the study, click:


I have 2 children. They are grown-ups now. But I still fondly remember the mornings I had to wake them up, feed them something, and off we went jumping into the car so that we’d get to school before the bell rang. It was always a love and hate ritual. I loved it because I liked driving to school with my kids – that seemed to be the only time and place they would talk to me. I hated it because it was too early for all of us, parent and students. And maybe it was too early for some of the faculty too.

Anyway, I think most people would agree that it was not natural to go to school at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. Our body, especially a kid’s body, is not wired to get up an hour or more before those first periods. Now the Rand experts proved it. It’s too late for me now – there are no more kids in my house. For those of you who have school children to take care of, or grandkids who are ready to start school soon, perhaps it’s worthwhile to think about this issue and pick a school that has a later schedule. After all, you and the kids may be all happier.

I actually would like to find out how many schools, in the US and other countries, start at 8:30 am or later. Let’s share what you know.

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