Delaware Resident Makes Compelling Case For Later Start Time At Schools

A Delaware resident recently sent an email to some very high-level Delaware politicians and members of the media.  Floyd McDowell, a New Castle County resident, has many ideas for change in education.  This, in my opinion, would be an excellent start.  Why do we subject our youth to “farming” hours at many of our schools?  And so many want to actually increase the school day?  We need to take the lessons from Finland about what is physically appropriate for our children.

This email message and two attachments discuss the need to change school start times to enable our state’s Middle and High School students to get adequate sleep each night. Much readily available medical research informs us that adolescent sleep deprivation is a serious cause of many adolescent mental and physical health and school problems.

One of the two attached articles is based on information in a publication titled Adolescent Sleep Needs and School Starting Times. There are a number of publications listed on under Adolescent Sleep Deprivation. Other information is available on the internet by accessing the same topic. Every adult citizen with an adolescent family member in our state’s Middle and High Schools should become informed and advocate for a sensible solution which is to schedule needed school start times. The second attached article is a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics that more thoroughly discusses this sleep deprivation problem and how to eliminate it. Another similar report was issued by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Our State Constitution gives the responsibility for efficient public schools to our General Assembly. Our Governor has equal responsibility as this elective office appoints members to our State Board of Education and our State Secretary of Education. These responsible educational decision-makers will be the first to receive this information and a request to simply solve a harmful statewide problem by simply changing the start times for the 2015/2016 school; year for all adolescent students. This information will also be sent to state educational organization leaders in the Delaware State PTA, Delaware State Education Association, local School Board members and others. I will also send it to over 200 Delaware citizens on my email list who have shown involvement in activities to improve our state’s civic and political cultures.

As with all other information I share, I am always available to answer any questions or provide additional information for anyone requesting same. Our minds are like parachutes and umbrellas; “They simply won’t work unless open.”