Each week the Keizertimes asks community leaders a question about current events. To see more of this week’s answers or answers to past questions log onto www.keizertimes.com and click on In the Ring.
This week’s question is: Should local high schools push back their starting times by an hour to reflect the physical needs of students?
Vic Backlund, former state representative—
I have felt, literally forever, that schools do start too early for high school students. I had first-hand experience for 33 years as a teacher and coach at McNary High School. I learned that many students tended to stay up pretty late at night but had to get up quite early to make it to the start of first period, which translate to less sleep than is desirable.
Thus, academics suffer from the early start time. Early start times have a negative effect on student health. Additionally, student activities suffer from early start times.
I recognize that there are some advantages to early start times for high schools, but on balance, I would support later school start times.
John Morgan, MorganCPS Consulting—
As the father of teenage boys and recognizing their biorhythms, it make a lot of sense to me. I know the traditional argument is the early start is necessary for after-school jobs, but on-balance, better performance in school is a whole lot more important.
JoAnne Beilke, Board member, Chemeketa Community College—
Yes. This information has been available for many years about the sleep problems teenagers have and had. Europe and other countries start their teenagers later. The problem will be with the sports programs and the teacher’s union about these things. But I strongly believe this should be done.
Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting—
One has to determine one’s priorities in life. If the need is big enough, one will find the way to get out of bed and make life happen. Being able to sleep later is not an excuse. Our true biological clock is dependent on attitude. Personal priorities drive individual goals. A clock has nothing to do with how we feel. Attitude does.
If one chooses to start their day early; it is a choice. If one chooses to sleep late then that too is a choice. And if you chose to mimic the second choice later in life then don’t complain if someone else gets up earlier, does your job or takes your customers. Time, like productivity, waits for no one and doesn’t send sympathy cards.
I highly recommend anyone who would like to sleep or start their day later to read the book, “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The point of the book is if you want to be productive and think about having a successful business or career, you have to stop talking and start doing. For those that haven’t been listening we are being asked to do more, do it sooner and with less.
Successful people are those who have a passion for life and for always looking for a better way for their customers or cause. School is no different. Success in life is never measured by a clock. It is measured by our ability to get out of bed, choose our attitude and making a difference in the world.
Success is not theory. It is the intrinsic beauty of a positive experience. Be innovative, get up and hour early or maybe even two, and find out what the world may be asking of you.
Roy Duncan, retired analyst, state of Oregon—
The concept of changing the starting time for schools should consider all schools, not just high schools. I can’t imagine something that would pay off on both ends as well as this. Not only would kids get a chance to start the day a little more gradually but they would have less time to get in trouble after school is out for the day. Considering how schools are run and how common sense does not seem to be in the mix, since this makes a lot of sense, it seems logical it will be disregarded.
Dave Bauer, owner, R. Bauer Insurance—
Yes, great idea! I believe research shows older kids are better able to learn later in the morning. Young kids are usually just the opposite. They are up early and are able to get going sooner.
In a profession that changes almost every year, why has this not been tried before? It’s a tough sell with our culture and our education system to make the change. Work for kids, different hours for teachers, and parents, baby sitting for younger siblings all play a part in the effort to change. I do believe it would be the best thing for education.
Great idea for a charter school concept.