What School Start Times Say About the Stifling Strictures of Public Education

Flickr User Base Camp BakerFlickr User Base Camp BakerAs a lifelong late-sleeper who went to a high school with a brutal 7 a.m. start time, I’m thrilled to see The New York Times cover new research indicating that students at high schools with later start times performed better on measures such as mental health, auto accident rates, attendance, and sometime grades and test scores as well. I napped through first and second period fairly consistently during my high school days, even in classes that I liked, and even when my teachers allowed me to tote my technically off-limits mega-thermos of coffee into the classroom in hopes that it would keep me awake. Even when I wasn't passed out on my desk, I still didn't learn much. I was basically zombified until third period or so—shuffling and groaning from class to class, but not really alive and engaged.

And while supporters of early start times frequently argue that they’re better for kids who participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, because they make more room in the afternoon, for me the opposite was true. I quit competitive swimming once I reached high school because practices started at something like 5 a.m., and nighttime band practices kept me out later during the weekday anyway. Waking up in time to swim would have been incredibly difficult just by itself. Trying to do it while staying up for band—and the inevitable homework that had to be completed after practice—would have been impossible.

Sure, some of this was basic teenage laziness, but I’m not the only teenager to have had trouble with early morning school start times. Overall, the research is pretty clear that teenagers tend to have later sleep cycles, and that early class start times impact performance at school and elsewhere. That’s why places like the Brookings Institution are recommending later start times, and why the Times report is built around the story of a successful student push to get a school board in Missouri to ditch plans to make an early start time even earlier. As the Times notes, this is a movement decades in the making; the research has been pointing in this direction for a while.

But here’s the thing: Later high school start times may be better on average, but not every teenage student is semi-comatose until 9 a.m. I knew kids who liked going to bed and getting up early, and others who managed to earn great grades, play sports, maintain active social lives, and otherwise perform just fine on five hours of sleep. And while it wasn’t true for me, the benefits for many after-school activities are real—especially for teenagers who work part-time jobs. Indeed, that was one way that my school’s hellishly early start time actually helped me: Throughout my senior year, I worked a few days a week at a local grocery store. The early start time meant school was out before 2 p.m., so I was able to stop at home, change clothes, and grab a snack before starting an afternoon shift.

All of which is to say that what works for some students doesn’t always work for others. The real problem then isn’t early start times so much as it is the centralized rigidity of the public school system.

For many kids (and their parents) there’s little or no choice about what high school to go to, and what time to be there. You go to the school you’re assigned to, and that’s it. Private options offer some flexibility, in some cases. But even moderately priced private schools are expensive. And in many smaller and medium-sized towns, the competition is weak at best.

Sure, it’s nice to see that some school districts are taking note of the evidence in favor of later start times for high schools. But it would be even nicer to imagine a world in which the evidence didn’t take 20 years to filter into school systems’ decision-making processes, in which small bands of school-board bureaucrats weren’t making one-size-fits-all decisions for thousands of students, and in which teenagers and their families had a variety of meaningful options available—options that might include, among other things, variable start times, and perhaps even school days that weren’t constructed on the traditional seven-hours-starting-in-the-morning schedule at all. In other words, it would be nice if there were choice and competition in public education, and if innovations and adjustments like later start times weren't news. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • pan fried wylie||

    And while supporters of early start times frequently argue that they’re better for kids who participate in sports and other extracurricular activities

    Cause that's what they're there for...

  • pan fried wylie||

    Highschool geometry. 1st semester I got it 1st period. Teacher put the homework up on the board first thing. I'd come in, do the homework, and go back to sleep. Less sleep on test days. A's both quarters.

    2nd semester, teacher didn't put homework up on the board till the end of class. C and a D.

    Next year, I didn't bother paying any attention in trig. Had to teach it to myself couple years back so I could use it for programming.

    Thanks, Public Education.

  • Rasilio||

    Yeah my issue was the after lunch seiesta.

    Junior year I had Chemistry after lunch. By about 3 weeks in I had figured out that it was ridiculously easy and started sleeping through the class.

    the first couple of weeks of that the teacher tried calling me out by waking me up to answer one of the questions he had written on the board. In every case I was able to balance every formula in my head just by looking at it. After I blew the curve on the first 2 tests he just let me sleep unless no one else in the class could answer the question then he'd wake me up to solve it for them.

  • Jordan||

    Damn, you guys are lucky. All of my teachers were merciless in punishing sleepers.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    My problem stemmed from the belief in a bullshit wive's tale passed down through the generations....

    "Coffee will stunt your growth." Which everyone in my family believed without question. Hence, I didn't discover the power of caffeine until I went to college. I was worthless till 10 AM. What a waste.

    DEMAND PROOF!

  • gimmeasammich||

    After I blew the curve on the first 2 tests he just let me sleep unless no one else in the class could answer the question then he'd wake me up to solve it for them.

    I think I had calculus in high school with you, and I still hate you for that.

    Actually the only thing that kept me awake was the hot girl that I sat next to who always wanted to talk, show off the bikini she was going to be tanning in later that day, and brought in the breast implant samples she was thinking about getting.

  • Brett L||

    My physics-precal teacher (which was an awesome way to learn trig, btw) used to throw tennis balls at the guys who fell asleep. I got pegged occasionally. On the plus side, he strongly recommended that I take the harder calculus my senior year because he recognized that I was bored.

  • Jordan||

    As a lifelong late-sleeper who went to a high school with a brutal 7 a.m. start time

    I feel your pain, 2chili. In addition to being dead tired, I was starving because I had no time to eat breakfast. It's no surprise that later start times correlate with better performance.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Reread the byline.

  • Jordan||

    Bah. They're all 2chili to me.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Bravo!

  • Seamus_Cameron||

    How about we get the government out of the business of education altogether? Give every parent a voucher to send their child to the school that best fits their needs?

    Not every kid needs to be on 'college prep' course. Kids needs basic math, writing ans science skills, but they also need to be able 'find' that thing that really motivates them (be it music, athletics, mechanical trades, Military).

    Stop trying to put each kid in the same size box.

  • Tony||

    At least you guys admit that a free market can't deliver universal education.

    When something is too absurd, you might as well shill for funneling taxpayer money to the charter school industry.

  • Rasilio||

    Recognizing the futility of separating government funding of education is not the same thing as not believing it is possible for the market to provide it

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    It could, but we have a problem getting people to give up their free babysitting.

  • Jordan||

    At least you guys admit that a free market can't deliver universal education.

    Wrong. Advocating for vouchers is a recognition of political reality. Nothing more. Similarly, I'd prefer pot be legalized, untaxed, and unregulated, but merely being legalized is a step in the right direction.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    At least you guys admit that a free market can't deliver universal education.


    Looks like the government can't, either. Which should tell you that the idea of "universal education" is a myth.

  • Brian D||

    At least you guys admit that a free market can't deliver universal education.

    No, we embrace that a free market would deliver tailored education.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No, we embrace that a free market would deliver tailored education.

    Tailored = Not decided upon by Top. Men. = Worse than death in Tony's book.

  • wareagle||

    At least you guys admit that a free market can't deliver universal education.

    assuming facts not in evidence. The rise of the private school is a direct result of the failure of the public. Most state constitutions include education as a function of govt, and most manage to fuck it up.

    Charter schools, meanwhile, yield much better outcomes. Ask the kids in NYC whom DeBlasio is screwing over.

  • Tonio||

    If by "universal" you mean mandatory for everyone for twelve (plus) years and free for all, probably not. And that's not a problem for me.

    Some kids just aren't that smart. Those kids deserve to be educated to the extent to which they can be, but there is no need to babysit them in an educational setting once they've maxed-out.

    There are some kids who just don't want to be there, and attempting to enforce their attendance is a waste of everyone's time and money, and sucks resources from the kids who can learn and want to be there.

  • Jordan||

    Yep. How many kids graduate from high school in Detroit's public schools? 50%? And among those 50%, what is the average reading and math level?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's even more about "delivering" than "universal," I think. You can't deliver an education to someone who doesn't want one or who is incapable of learning what you are trying to teach.

    How would someone even define what delivering an education to someone who is only at a school because of the threat of incarceration would even be? What would be delivering an education on algebra look like when the recipient can't master multiplication or division? Why would either of those be a market failure?

  • KPres||

    When I was in college I worked at a golf course with a guy who was illiterate. Whenever he had a document or anything he'd have to get somebody else to read it to him. Yet he'd managed to have a successful marriage, own a nice well-kept home, and raise a great family, all because he'd been taught good values by his parents. Values like responsibility, integrity, respect...all the values progressives mock. INOW, he was educated.

    What public schools pump out are broken, depressive, confused kids that have to spend years unlearning the destructive value system they get indoctrinated with if they want to have a successful life.

    Yes, the free market could beat that. Easily.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I went through public schools and turned out fine, O Drama Queen.

  • KPres||

    I bet you were a little bitch.

  • Rhywun||

    I look back at starting school at 7:30 and wonder how the hell I did it. I got like 5 hours of sleep a night throughout my teens. 20 years later, my boss asks me to come in at 8:45 one time and I laugh in his face. 9 o'clock is punishment enough.

  • wareagle||

    I went the other way - an 8am college class was hell but my first job, a radio gig, had me in at 5am.

  • Spartacus||

    When I was in grad school I taught a remedial algebra class for Prop 48 athletes. At 7:25 am. The ones who were awake were only thinking about breakfast. I still don't understand the logic behind scheduling someone's weakest subject at the worst time of day.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    We go from 7:30AM to 11:30AM. We'll probably have to go until noon starting this fall since we'll be doing two math classes.

  • pan fried wylie||

    The horror.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I napped through first and second period fairly consistently during my high school days, even in classes that I liked...

    PE and shop class, hence the lost fingers. If kids have/get to go to school later, who's going to babysit them between the time the rents go off to work and home room?

    Anyway, this entire post seems like a Ron Bailey-type personal disclaimer.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "The real problem then isn’t early start times so much as it is the centralized rigidity of the public school system."

    It is not as if the student's future employers will expect them to abide by rigid work schedules. A 7 am start may be ridiculous, but "rigid" schedules are not exactly the exclusive province of public schools.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Outside of factory work, the business world is turning to more and more flexible schedules. You've heard of things like "flextime", right?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    You've heard of things like "core hours," right?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And that takes away from my point or Suderman's point how, exactly?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Because you have to be at work by 9:00, for example, even if you have the ability to come in early so you can leave early. 9:00 is a rigid, drop dead time for being at work even with flex time, in a lot of places.

    Flex time very rarely means "show up and leave whenever the mood strikes you."

    Not to mention that your point glosses often a crapton more than just "outside of factory" work. Retail -- which I hear is still a thing -- and any kind of customer service operation kind of expects you to be there to open the doors at opening time.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Flex time very rarely means "show up and leave whenever the mood strikes you."

    I think it pretty clear from the context I employed the phrase that I wasn't defining it like that. I suggest you have a coffee, get over your morning grumps, and come back when you are more civil. Right now, it seems that you just want to twist my words into a semantic pretzel just to have an argument. If you want an argument, try Mr. Barnard; room 12.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's also clear from the context you employed that you ignored massive swaths of different types of employment. Yeah, some people in some office environments have some flexibility.

    It doesn't take twisting your words to recognize that "outside of factory work" was so egregiously overbroad as to be almost purposefully misstating reality.

  • Jordan||

    Dude, you do understand how trends work, right? The existence of office environments with core hours does not refute his claim that "the business world is turning to more and more flexible schedules". Maybe you think he's wrong about that trend, but you are not making that argument.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Nor does the existence of flex time in some scenarios support the claim that "outside of factory work" flex time is some big trend.

    There are plenty of employment types "outside of factory work" in which flex time isn't remotely a trend. Retail. Restaurants. Just about any type of customer service business. If there are hours on the door, the odds that flex time are in place are pretty low. There are a lot of such places.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Yeah, flex time is not becoming a thing in my line of work. The law revolves around the Court's hours, which are 8:30 - 5 PM.

  • robc||

    Flex time very rarely means "show up and leave whenever the mood strikes you."

    Its becoming that more and more.

    In the IT field especially so. Heck its been that way for decades in IT. Programmers who didnt show until noon and left at 9 are fairly common.

  • wareagle||

    because insisting that one size does not fit all, and pretty much being right, does not negate that most organizations have set times of operation. If the workday starts at 8, you don't to wander in at 9:30.

    Flexibility means just that - adjustments can be made for periodic circumstances but no place is going to have custom hours for each person.

  • wareagle||

    because insisting that one size does not fit all, and pretty much being right, does not negate that most organizations have set times of operation. If the workday starts at 8, you don't to wander in at 9:30.

    Flexibility means just that - adjustments can be made for periodic circumstances but no place is going to have custom hours for each person.

  • wareagle||

    see, even the damn 3pm squirrels know to come in at a specific time.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Some employers offer that, some don't. many still expect you to show when you say you will. How man schools, public, private or whatever offer flexible start times? I don't think Suderman had much of a point.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How man schools, public, private or whatever offer flexible start times? I don't think Suderman had much of a point.

    His point was that if education had a vibrant market of choice and customization, then schools would be able to offer things like flexible start times, hybrid on-site/online courses, or even fully online charter schools. But the centralization of education by municipal and state governments retard such innovations by being forced to adopt a one-size fits all model; whereas, in the private sector, things like telecommuting and flextime have been around for years.

  • JParker||

    Some employers offer flextime, some offer different hours, etc.; the key is that there are multiple employers from which to choose from, where there are not, generally speaking, multiple schools to choose from.

    Also, many schools offer multiple start times -- colleges, for example.

  • Jordan||

    Well, that doesn't mean that a rigid schedule is appropriate for schools.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    This^

    Schools need to have ridged schedules because some employers do? And learning to keep a ridged schedule is a "skill" we need to learn? Why don't colleges keep ridged schedules then?

    Yeah. No. Kids aren't adults and education isn't a work environment.

    High school schedules should functions like college schedules, but because we need to treat 15 year olds like either 5 year olds or felons, that's not gonna happen and we'll continue to incarcerate them for 6.5 hours per day. Heaven forbid we treat teens like developing adults with responsibilities and agency in their lives.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    And the thing is that schools would be fine having rigid schedules... if there were a variety of the schedules to choose from. Yes you have to be there from 7-2, but that was a choice you made over 10-5....

    Just like the rigid schedules of the workforce.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Are there a lot of private schools that do this?

  • Rasilio||

    probably not but then there are not a lot of private schools.

    That said I'll point you to this...

    http://www.sudval.com/index.html

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I've seen that. It sounds like a more formalized form of unschooling, if such a thing is possible.

    I homeschool and we start the day at a time we chose. 7:00 was too early, 8:00 made it end too late. 7:30 was a good compromise. The daughters choose when spring break is. They choose when they want to get out for Christmas and I work back from there to set up a start date. They choose when the want to get out for summer and I work back from there to set a start date for the spring semester. We have flex days for field trips or for when they want a long weekend or whatever.

    I get flexibility. I'm just not sure that the problem from the article is necessarily one of public schools, but of schools in general. I don't have to overstaff to teach to half full classrooms over a longer day. Schools, public or private, do. Now, if schools were willing to do away with the whole attendance thing and have recorded lectures online with teachers available for questions, we'd really be talking about some flexibility.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    rigid, rigid, rigid.

  • Rasilio||

    And as an adult I have turned down jobs and demanded more money because it required hours I did not prefer.

    As a teen I had no choice on school

  • pan fried wylie||

    I gotta say, I'd have put a lot more effort in to school if they'd been paying me to be there.

  • OrangeCouch||

    More people than ever are working for themselves or working for employers who will allow them to work from home, time-shift their schedules, etc. as long as they get the work done.

    Managing Gen Y is much different than managing Boomers. From my perspective, if they can get the work I assign them finished when (or before) it's due, they can work while drinking beer on the beach. I get more productivity out of folks who are happy and feel like I "get it" than I would from folks who show up at 9 and watch the clock from 4:20 to 5:00, counting the minutes until they can get outta here... And for the most part, although they know I'd let them go to the beach and drink beer, most folks [happily] come in to the office and work.

    Point being, people are different. Each person knows what will make them the most productive, whether it's by working early in the AM, or by staying up until 2am (but not starting until the sun sets). A school system that doesn't recognize that produces people who will become managers and fall back on "be here from 9-5 or else" because it's what they're used to. Mindless drones who expect someone else to tell them where to be and when to be there aren't as valuable to me as people who think for themselves.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    A school system that doesn't recognize that produces people who will become managers and fall back on "be here from 9-5 or else" because it's what they're used to. Mindless drones who expect someone else to tell them where to be and when to be there aren't as valuable to me as people who think for themselves.

    Which is exactly what the factory-model Taylorized public schools were designed to do 130 sem-odd years ago.

  • OrangeCouch||

    That's why I only hire people who are over the age of 130. ;-)

  • wareagle||

    unlike your office, productivity is not factored into the equation. It's a mass production environment dependent on rules, not results. Either way, we're talking thousands, if not tens of thousands of kids. Managing an equivalent of your office on that scale would be a challenge, particularly since you're not dealing with the most responsible segment of society.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's a mass production environment dependent on rules, not results.

    Let me ask you, do you think it should be that way?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    How do colleges manage the varied schedules of their students?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    By hiring so much staff that most people have to take out loans to afford it? By appealing to far more students than a typical school district? By offering night classes?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    The academic staffing necessary to teach is a miniscule cost in total expenditure in college. Sorry - the teachers (adjuncts/prof) aren't the cost drivers in college education. Admin and facility cost are.

  • Zeb||

    College students still have to take classes when they are offered. So the management of schedules is really done by the students.

  • OrangeCouch||

    I'm not saying that my office is the model schools should follow, just that the schools' model doesn't work with my office, and by extension, any of the offices that are run in a similar fashion, i.e., with a focus on productivity.

    The solution isn't to try and map modern work policies to the existing school system setup, but to change the one-size-fits-all mentality that's led to the existing system. If you can get folks to understand that individuals are different and require different amounts of attention, different educational methods, etc., you'll have an easier time getting the State out of the education business because the State has a tendency to create one-size-fits-all solutions. All this does is screw everyone over equally.

  • kinnath||

    The only reason I see the morning links is because I have to start work at 7:30 am Central.

  • The Other Kevin||

    In Indiana we have an online academy as an alternate school. I have a friend who has her two boys enrolled. They have a lot of health problems - seizures, etc. But she lets them sleep in, start school at 10 or 11, and still gets done before 3. They are doing very well. As a bonus, they don't have any snow days to make up, so they'll finish the school year way before the other kids.

  • Brian D||

    HERETIC!

    ~Tony

  • OldMexican||

    Sure, some of this was basic teenage laziness, but I’m not the only teenager to have had trouble with early morning school start times.


    Yes, lazy people find comfort in numbers.

  • ||

    Yes, lazy people find comfort in numbers.

    I had similar sentiments.

  • Zeb||

    How about shortening the school day so you can start at a reasonable time and have some time to do things in the afternoon.

    I remember when I went from high school to college the striking difference in how much time you spent in a classroom/lecture situation. In HS, it is somehow absolutely necessary to spend 6 hours in class each day, but in college you cover more material more quickly in 12 hours a week or so.
    Surely by high school the babysitting aspect isn't so important.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    A big part of that is simply because a lot of the work is shifted out of the classroom time and into the out of classroom time because you are, overall, dealing with a more mature and motivated group.

    It's at least possible that college requires even more time per day than high school, just not actually in a classroom. If high school teachers could say "handle all of the stuff on your own and be ready to discuss it all tomorrow," high school days would probably be shorter, too. But then people would be bitching about all the "homework."

  • pan fried wylie||

    high school days would probably be shorter, too. But then people would be bitching about all the "homework."

    Not if the school day was shorter. People are bitching about the quantity of homework IN ADDITION to the full-length day.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I'm not so sure we wouldn't see more than a few "Why I am paying the teachers if my kid has to do all this work at home" complaints, even if the day were shorter. "Why isn't this school work being done at school?

    I just don't think comparing class times in high school and college is a very useful metric. College requires a lot more independent work and thought than high school.

  • robc||

    Shorter teaching days, long study periods.

    Same 6 hour day, but do 3 hrs of "lecture" and 3 hrs of study hall.

    You know, as an alternative model.

  • JParker||

    That's one of the problems with high school, and one that is caused by government nearly monopolizing it.

  • Jordan||

    Or it could be that the volume of work is not appropriate in the first place.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's entirely possible that the volume of work isn't appropriate, but that still doesn't make comparing college class time to high school class time -- when college explicitly expects more independent study outside of class -- any more valid.

  • Rasilio||

    "It's at least possible that college requires even more time per day than high school, just not actually in a classroom. "

    Only if you are a moron

    I carried a 3.65 GPA as a physics major and between class hours and homework it took me about 25 hours a week to get everything done

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's possible you are above average. Hell, some people, even people legitimately in college, can't do physics, period.

    I had a 4.0 as an aerospace engineering/political science major and philosophy minor and did my homework -- it's tricky to try to breeze through Kant and Nietzsche -- all while working full time.

    That doesn't mean I expect everyone to be able to do the same thing or that anyone who can't, or who can only pull a 3.65, is a moron.

  • Zeb||

    I probably didn't spend much more time on school work than that in college either. And I probably wound up with the equivalent of 4.0 GPA, or damn close. I never once did homework or studied past 10 PM except for reading that I would have done for fun even if it weren't assigned.
    Some majors are going to require more homework time than others, but I think that the biggest reason why many college students seem to have to spend so much time on coursework is poor time management. If you just get things done on a reasonable schedule, you have a lot more time to do other things.

  • Zeb||

    It's another problem of the one-size-fits-all approach. I am sure that motivated high school students could manage to do their work outside of the classroom.
    And a lot of time is just wasted in HS classrooms. One of the most striking to me was language classes. One semester of college Spanish covered more that we did in a year in HS. Yes, there was more work outside of the classroom, but not that much.

  • marshaul||

    That's right, NEM, because we all know that the best way to motivate an unmotivated group is with coercion.

    Your contribution to this discussion is actually growing tiresome.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Surely by high school the babysitting aspect isn't so important.

    It's obvious that the babysitting aspect is the #1 priority.

  • Zeb||

    Maybe high school students are more infantilized than when I was there, but when I was a lad, most parents of HS students didn't seem to feel the need to have their kids constantly supervised before or after school.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    nighttime band practices kept me out later during the weekday

    You know Suderman, you're totally a lock to hook up with some lanky nerd with that background.

    "This one time in band camp.."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    All of which is to say that what works for some students doesn’t always work for others. The real problem then isn’t early start times so much as it is the centralized rigidity of the public school system.

    Huh.

  • OldMexican||

    In other words, it would be nice if there were choice and competition in public education, and if innovations and adjustments like later start times weren't news.


    It would be even nicer, in other words, to stop talking like public education is a desirable good and instead see it for what it is: a jail for children, a jobs program for Democratic workers and another justification for plundering the population.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    At least you guys admit that a free market can't deliver universal education.

    Swing, and a miss.

    You're like one of those baseball players in a Bugs Bunny cartoon who strikes out by swinging three times at the same pitch. Bravo!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Bugs once struck out an entire side with one pitch. True story.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    but they also need to be able 'find' that thing that really motivates them (be it music, athletics, mechanical trades, Military).

    artisanal basket weaving?

  • Peter Suderman||

    My band director always said that anyone who didn't like three hour long practices after school should drop out and take "underwater basket weaving."

    I was always sad that wasn't a real class.

  • Zeb||

    Hey, have you seen how much artisanal baskets sell for?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    BROOKS:
    Did you hear the racket the 2014 F1 cars made at Free Practice?
    It's gonna be a brutal year.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Archduke-

    No, I missed it.

    I think Formula One may finally have managed to commit suicide with this year's rules. I saw a little blurb the other day from the Lotus head, saying they were basically just hoping the car would run all day.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Great alt-text!

    I also worked at a grocery store in the afternoons after high school. Are these secretly the production center of libertarians?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Summer job for me. Best summer of my life.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It was pretty awesome in the summer. I got bumped up from my usual 23 hours to 40, so I had more money. But without having to go to school I had overall more free time and I worked 12-9 so I still got to sleep in (or golf/canoe/whatever) in the morning and go play poker with my friends at night.

  • kibby||

    I worked at one for two years in high school (though it was a tiny hippie sort of place), so you may be onto something here.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I worked as a car hop at an A&W stand. I wore roller skates. Best.Job.Ever.

  • gimmeasammich||

    Until the kids with the marbles came along, right?

  • johnbrowning||

    Happy to report that starting this Fall, my kids' high school (Orange County Calif) is offering both an early start and a late (10am) start, kids will be able to choose.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?"

    -Proverbs 6:9 (NAB)

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    “A little sleep, a little slumber,
    A little folding of the hands to rest,”

    Then your poverty will come as a robber
    And your want like an armed man.

    -Proverbs 24:33-34

  • Brett L||

    You guys are missing the elephant in the room. There are only so many school buses, so we have to round up the older kids first, then go back for their younger siblings. Also, it allows older kids to get home to babysit, which affords working-class parents the ability to actually work a full day without paying child care once the oldest is 12 or 13 and the youngest is in school. SLD, there ought to be lots and lots of alternatives, but its not just about punishing teens.

  • reason readin female||

    Start times are for the adult's benefit. Most of the teachers I have been acquainted with choose teaching specifically for the schedule. They know that every school has the same schedule they do, so they can be with their kids after school and during the summer.
    That, and early retirement.

  • AnnGreenleaf||

    Gee...in my area, schools don't seem to care much about what kids require, or what is developmentally appropriate. Classrooms with no windows? Check! Wouldn't want those kiddos getting any natural light or a distracting view outside, now, would we? No running on the blacktop? Check! Wouldn't want anyone to fall down and their parents sue the school, would we?

    Competition is good. Improvement results from competition. Why would parents be deserting public schools in droves for home schooling, private, and parochial schools?

  • blcartwright||

    If school starts at 9 instead of 7:30, how many kids are going to just go to bed 1 1/2 hours later?

    It's a matter of meeting your responsibilities. My bus picked up at 7:25, so I went to bed at 11:30 and got up at 6:45. I was fine in the morning but lunch would knock my into a siesta the following period.

    After my first year of college I had the opportunity to not schedule any classes before 10:30, so I was in bed by 3 or 4 am, up at 10 and in class at 10:30. I was easily distracted and found it easier to study after 11 pm.

    My job had hours of 7:30 to 4. If you wanted to work overtime you had to come in earlier, because night shift took your spot at 4. In the DC suburbs, leaving the house at 5:30 am or later meant sitting in traffic, so for several years I was up at 4:30, on the road at 5 and in the office at 5:30.

    I have spent over 25 years routinely working 10 and 12 hour days, sometimes even 18. These days I work from 4 pm to 5 am but hang around the office until 7:30 or 8. a 7 1/2 hour day is then like a half day, and then I see people griping about spending 6 or 7 hours in a class room?

    Wherever you go, there are rules, some rigid, some more flexible, but you still have to plan your hours, including sleep, around your responsibilities.

  • terrymac||

    We have an interesting solution to this problem; it's called the "free market." Today's so-called "private" schools are not a free market, for at least three reasons. One, their output is heavily regulated by the government. Two, students are compelled to attend some sort of "school", as defined by the government, with a few exceptions for home education - and governments strive mightily to regulate that also. Third, private schools must compete with so-called "free" education.

    If "free" food were available (at taxpayer expense) in government cafeterias, the market would behave in the same way: costs would rise, quality would diminish, and the remaining private-sector would be mostly for those who could afford high-priced restaurants, the lower-price facilities having been crowded out.

    James Tooley, researcher and author of The Beautiful Tree and other books, has documented that a) many of the poorest parents in the world can and do pay for the education of their own children in government-free schools and b) that free government schools do not increase the number being educated; they merely crowd out private-sector alternatives.

  • terrymac||

    Horace Mann went to school for 6 weeks per year, which was the standard school year in his day. He went on to become valedictorian at college. Can we say that today's 180-day school years are really such a great improvement? Is there not a great opportunity cost? When such a large swath of a child's time is commandeered by others, what else might that child have chosen to do? Horace Mann chose to spend a great deal of time at the library. Benjamin Franklin was a prodigious reader. Early American education was not so much about a jobs program for teachers, as it was about enabling children to teach themselves.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement