State Journal

March 31, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Eye-Opening Debate

Among proverbs, the consensus is clear. Early birds get the worm. Being early to bed and to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise. But is getting up early also good for taking tests?

Connecticut lawmakers found themselves arguing that point this month as they reconsidered restrictions on when high school students can be given state tests.

At issue was a law passed last year in Connecticut that prohibits districts from giving state exams to high schoolers before 9 a.m. Sponsors of the measure pointed to research suggesting that adolescent brains simply aren’t wired to work well early in the morning.

But the rule gave many district leaders a headache. Unable to start school later because of transportation issues, they had to plan some way to keep students occupied between the time they arrived and when testing could begin. Some said the result was a logistical nightmare.

Offering some relief, the legislature this month took up an amendment to waive the rule for this year for any district that held a public forum on the issue of adolescent sleep cycles. The change passed by a vote of 35-1 in the Senate.

The House, however, voted 79- 69 to rewrite the amendment so as to scrap the time limits altogether. Leaders of the Democratic-controlled chamber then tabled the measure rather than bring it to floor vote, leaving the testing rule unchanged for now.

“It was clear that the will of the legislature was to repeal this law,” complained Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., the Republican who led the effort to remove the time limits. “It underscored how important it is for local control on these matters.”

But Sen. Kevin B. Sullivan, who backed last year’s law and this year’s compromise, said he’s still convinced that the likely benefits of later testing outweigh the challenges it presents. Mr. Sullivan, a Democrat who serves as the Senate’s president pro tem, has in the past proposed setting statewide controls on high school starting times in general—not just on testing days.

“Almost every aspect of school scheduling has everything to do with adults and nothing to do with kids,” said Mr. Sullivan, who is also a former co-chairman of the Senate education committee.

—Jeff Archer

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP