The vice chair of the school board for our overly large school system tackles the issue of high school starting too early in a guest opinion piece from yesterday’s paper. All but one of our high schools begin around 7:30 and it doesn’t take much research to tell you that most students are still asleep at that hour of the morning – as are many of their teachers.
The concern about the early opening times for high schools has been around for a while and there are plenty of studies showing that student academic performance probably suffers because of it. But fixing the problem around here doesn’t involve time as much as it does transportation and money. We already have a huge bus fleet which makes three runs each morning, one for each level. So either we move the elementary kids earlier (not popular) and high school later or buy more busses (also not popular).
There is a real irony in all this, however, that comes each morning as I drop my wife the music teacher off at her school (around 7:05). On one side of the building the busses are rolling up mostly empty while the parking lots are full and the off campus parking is getting that way. On the other side of the building there’s a traffic jam of vans and SUVs dropping off students who are too young to drive.
So the solution is easy. Start school later and tell the kids to get themselves to school. Which most of them are doing already. Simple and I’d bet most students (and their parents) would be willing to make the trade. Maybe I should run for school board. :-)