School Climate & Safety Report Roundup

High Schools Should Start Later, Report Says

By Debra Viadero — August 25, 2015 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Too many high schools and middle schools begin classes too early in the day, according to a report published by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC reports that during the 2011-12 school year, fewer than 1 in 5 middle and high schools across the United States began the school day at 8:30 a.m. or later, the start time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2014 report. That time is considered the earliest possible in order to allow adolescents to get the 8½ to 9½ hours of sleep each night that health experts recommend.

For their report, published this month, researchers from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Education reviewed data on school start times from the Education Department’s 2011-12 Schools and Staffing Survey, the most recent data available. The survey includes nearly 40,000 public middle and high schools and schools with combined grades. On average, the report finds, schools nationwide start at 8:03 a.m.

The authors argue that school start times are important because insufficient sleep for adolescents has been linked to poor academic performance and to health risks such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and illegal drug use.

The researchers found that no schools in Hawaii, Mississippi, and Wyoming started at 8:30 a.m. or later. But in Alaska and North Dakota, more than 75 percent of schools started at that time or later. The earliest average start time was found in Louisiana, where classes began at 7:40 a.m. The latest was in Alaska, which had an 8:33 a.m. average start time.


Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 26, 2015 edition of Education Week as High Schools Should Start Later, Report Says


Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind
Student Achievement K-12 Essentials Forum Tutoring Done Right: How to Get the Highest Impact for Learning Recovery
Join us as we highlight and discuss the evidence base for tutoring, best practices, and different ways to provide it at scale.

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

School Climate & Safety How a Superintendent Urged Parents to Discuss Gun Violence With Their Kids
The leader of the school district that serves Monterey Park, Calif., encouraged parents not to "let the TV do the talking."
5 min read
A woman comforts her son while visiting a makeshift memorial outside Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Authorities searched for a motive for the gunman who killed multiple people at the ballroom dance studio during Lunar New Year celebrations.
A woman comforts her son while visiting a memorial outside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., two days after a gunman killed 11 people and injured several others as they celebrated Lunar New Year.
Jae C. Hong/AP
School Climate & Safety Guidance on Responding to Students' Questions About Shootings
A guide for educators on ways to foster a sense of safety and security among students at a time when gun violence seems widespread.
4 min read
People gather for a vigil honoring the victims of a shooting several days earlier at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Monterey Park, Calif. A gunman killed multiple people late Saturday amid Lunar New Year's celebrations in the predominantly Asian American community.
Two days after a mass shooting that killed 11 people, people gather for a vigil outside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif. In the aftermath of shootings and other community violence, educators are called on to help students process their emotions and help them feel safe.
Ashley Landis/AP
School Climate & Safety Many Schools Don't Have Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Are They Overlooking the Risk?
Less than a quarter of states have laws requiring carbon monoxide detectors in school buildings.
5 min read
Image of a carbon monoxide detector with a blurred blueprint in the background.
School Climate & Safety Students of Color Disproportionately Suffer From Police Assaults at School, Says Report
A new report tallies up assaults by school-based police officers on students of color.
6 min read
Deputy Carroll walks the hall of Rice Elementary School with an administrator on Wednesday.
A school police officer walks the halls of Rice Elementary School in Greenwood, S.C., with an administrator on April 6, 2022.
Lindsey Hodges/The Index-Journal via AP