Should Public School Start Later ? Researches Discuss Benefits

By: Garrett Simera

Robin Jacobowitz, a researcher and parent of four, has found that when schools start later they see less absenteeism and tardiness, as well as a positive academic and mental health outcome, among other benefits.

“It is mental health outcomes that are the most compelling to me. We know that many kids struggle with emotional and mental health issues,” said Jacobowitz. “If getting more sleep will improve mental health of our students even a little bit, I think it is worth considering,” she added.

Sara Harms, a parent of two children in elementary school, agreed with Jacobowitz. “Research has shown they [teenagers] do better in school academically if they start later,” she said.

Harms’ school district has discussed switching to later start times, but she is unsure if or when these plans will begin to take shape.

Alexandra Millham, a senior at Saugerties High School, also believes that school should start later. “Because of how early school starts, I just don’t feel like I can focus on what’s going on until a few periods in,” Millham said, claiming that many of her peers feel the same way.

“I am part of the group that helps with the morning announcements, and many of us have a hard time reading over what we have to say—let alone present it in a ‘professional’ way,” she stated.

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