Starting Schools Later can be cost effective and can help to close the inequity gap between the have's and have not's as well as between white and black/Latino students.
The State of Maryland Public Education, 2013 (http://marylandcan.org/sites/marylandcan.org/files/state_of_md_public_ed_2013_MarylandCAN/index.html) a report released recently shows our low income students lagging more than 30 percentage points behind our more affluent students in both reading and math. This exceeds the national average by 7 percentage points. It also shows that "Black and Latino eighth-graders are 20 percentage points behind their white classmates in math". This report shows a consistent achievement gap between white and blacks/Latinos. It goes on to show how Maryland has shown an increase of 60% since 2002 in what they call "drop out factories". These "drop out factories" are schools where 40% or more of 9th graders drop out of school by the 12th grade.
Another study in “Education Next” entitled Do Schools Begin Too Early, Summer 2012, Vol. 12, No. #3 (http://educationnext.org/do-schools-begin-too-early/) demonstrates how starting school later will help to close this achievement gap in a cost effective manner. "In this study, I use data from Wake County, North Carolina, to examine how start times affect the performance of middle school students on standardized tests. I find that delaying school start times by one hour, from roughly 7:30 to 8:30, increases standardized test scores by at least 2 percentile points in math and 1 percentile point in reading. The effect is largest for students with below-average test scores, suggesting that later start times would narrow gaps in student achievement." The author goes on to describe in his final paragraph how starting school one hour later is dramatically less expensive than lowering class size which is often touted as the Holy Grail of educational efficacy.
It just makes sense. More affluent students, already having advantages, may be able to over compensate for some of the effects of chronic sleep deprivation though it important to note that even our privileged students show an increase in school performance on many measures. Low income students do not have the needed resources to overcome the trials our current system places on them. Simply starting schools later helps to equalize the playing field. Similarly, black and Latino students who do not prosper as well as white students in our system are likely to show a greater increase in learning by eliminating a huge obstacle to learning: sleep deprivation. I urge you to move forward for our kids and our future. Make all schools start after 8:00. Preferably with high schools starting after 8:30. It will make a difference!
Sign our Howard County Petition at: http://tinyurl.com/sslhoco
Yours in Service,