Did you know that later school start time has been the subject of debate in several communities for years? Fortunately, new and extensive research from RAND Corporation revealed that delaying school start times has actually more benefits, especially when it comes to the economy.

Last year, several schools in the United States opted for the implementation of school start times to be on a later schedule.

Based on observations, the change in school time schedules brought a noticeable improvement in students’ attendance and performance.

Teachers also noted a boost in student alertness in class. Parents seemed happier as they no longer have to drag their kids out f bed, while the children no longer have to wake up groggy and rush to the bus stop just to go to school.


Aside from these benefits, a school start time no earlier than 8:30 AM also has several advantages such as reduction in traffic accidents among tired teens and improved educational achievement.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, later school start could also help the United States save $9 billion annually.

Study co-author Wendy Troxel explained through a news release that the “significant economic benefits” from moving the start of classes to a later schedule “would be felt in a matter of years.” Troxel also stressed that the advantages will be seen in the public health of teens.

Risks of inadequate sleep

Even though the researchers did not consider other issues such as mental health problems, obesity, and suicide rates, they concluded that the economic benefits across the country could be even higher, thanks to later school start times. But researchers highlighted that inadequate sleep among teens has become a public health epidemic, which has significant economic implications, WDBJ7 noted.

Due to inadequate sleep among adolescents, sports injuries, drug use, and car accidents have become rampant across the country. These incidents, however, significantly decreased when schools decided to push back the start times of their classes, California Senator Anthony Portantino said. There’s also a noticeable improvement in the students’ grades and attendance.

Schools still start early

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association also support the later start times of classes.

But Washington Times reported that the CDC estimated 82 percent of middle and high schools in the country still start their classes before 8:30 AM.

This issue was also pointed out by Slate, saying that most public middle and high schools in the U.S. still “start far too early in the morning.” Even though too-early start times pose several academic and health risks, not to mention experts’ recommendations, the change has still been slow. While several schools recognize the validity of the findings regarding inadequate sleep, they still find the change “troublesome.”

The State of California’s Senate’s Education Committee, however, ratified a bill in February that would require middle and high schools to push back their classes’ start time no earlier than 8:30 AM.

The implementation will reportedly commence by 2020.

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