Sleep studies show high school students might perform better with a later school schedule, but local superintendents say changing the time classes start is easier said than done.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan encouraged school administrations Wednesday to consider starting high school classes later to allow teens to get the sleep they need.
Robert Krantz, the superintendent for the Dover Area School District, does not believe Duncan's statement will
lead to much action, but he said starting the school day later would benefit students.
"I think we'd all do better with that," Krantz said.
But Krantz said the logistics of changing school schedules would cause a funding burden Pennsylvania districts might not be able to handle.
Juggling bus schedules would be a cost burden: Krantz said Dover would need to use additional buses to handle the elementary and secondary students all at once. Otherwise, it would need to switch the times elementary students start, too.
But a safety concern arises with that scenario: Krantz said changing the elementary schedule would result in younger children waiting at bus stops in the dark.
Shawn Minnich, the superintendent at Northeastern York School District, agreed the safety of younger students is a large concern in changing the current schedule.
Changing schedule: Minnich said it's possible the entire school schedule could be pushed back, but it would require a mindset change for schools and parents.
As a parent, Minnich said he knows it's already difficult to have younger students get home, do homework, have something to eat, and be off to evening activities before a reasonable bedtime. That schedule could face an even tighter time crunch with a new school schedule.
Minnich said the only way the plan would have a viable chance is if a large group of school districts would decide to make the move together. Otherwise, scheduling athletic events and other extracurricular activities would not be possible.
Ultimately, Duncan at the education department said the government would not mandate high school starting times. In a broadcast interview Wednesday, Duncan said research and "common sense" show rested students are ready students.
Krantz and Minnich agree the research supports Duncan's statements. Krantz said for now, it's important students adjust as best they can to make sure they get enough sleep.
The Associated Press contrib uted to this report. Nikelle Snader can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.