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Consider Later Start for Classes

When state Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland, proposed legislation that would mean a later start to the school day for Ohio public school students, the reaction was mixed. But even though the idea may have been inspired by similar legislation in California, it warrants discussion.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree school should not start until at least 8:30 a.m. Children, especially those in middle and high school are generally wired to stay up later … and wake up later. (They’re also supposed to be getting as much as 9 1/2 hours of sleep per night.) According to professionals, an early start to the school day can be bad for their health and their grades.

But change is hard. There is a lot to consider in reworking the traditional school day. Bus routes, drop-off and pick-up times, child care arrangements for the younger ones … it’s a lot for parents to consider. And for kids who have after-school jobs or participate in extra-curricular activities, the change could be an even bigger problem.

There is one more obstacle, of course. Those prone to telling stories of having walked to school 10 miles in the snow, up hill, both ways and in the dark — or grumping about not having had air conditioning when they were in school — are going to be tempted to ignore the idea.

Williams’ idea should be researched. Lawmakers should debate the pros and cons, and make a decision about what is best for Ohio children.

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