Letters to the Editor

Consider later start time at Mercer Island High School

I feel compelled to speak up about considering a later start time for MIHS students in the future. My seventh-grader already has difficulty staying awake for first period, and I am loath to think how much more difficult it may be for him in the coming years at MIHS, which begins 20 minutes earlier than middle school.

He’s certainly a respectful student, so I feel terrible when his teacher last year said he sometimes nodded off in first period. Although he gets to bed early and eats breakfast, the early start just doesn’t suit his growing body. A later start time in high school is also supported by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as stated in his press release dated Sept. 5, 2013.

I know there is opposition from parents, stating that after-school activities and parent schedules conflict with a later start time. But I would counter that educational excellence should be the priority, as Arne states below.

“Study after study has shown mornings are very difficult [for teenagers],” Duncan told the program. “They’re not very awake — they’re groggy, they’re not able to pay attention in class,” he said.

Starting later would increase teens’ chances of being focused and concentrating so that they can get more out of their school day, he said.

“So often in education, we design school systems that work for adults and not for kids,” he said, citing current high school hours as “another example of that.”

Emily Thompson

 

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