August 30, 2017
A newly released report by the RAND Corporation suggests an urgent need for states to take action to ensure healthy school start times, according to the nonprofit Start School Later.
The report, “Later school start times in the U.S.” explores the economic implications of school start time shifts to 8:30 a.m. In recent years the American Academy of Pediatrics and other health groups have recommended middle and high school start times after 8:30 a.m. due to changes in sleep that occur during puberty. These changes mean that waking early for their school commute deprives most teenagers of the sleep their growing brains and bodies need, and as a result it sets them up for car crashes, depression, substance abuse, and many academic and chronic health issues.
Using a “novel macroeconomic modelling approach” the report concluded that the benefits of later school start times outweigh any costs of changing bell times, with an estimated economic gain of $8.6 billion to the national economy within just two years of changes, and a gain of $83 billion within ten years.