By now you all know already that the USA school year is the shortest in the civilized world, and the school-day length ranks about the same. You probably also already know that American schools are not in the world’s top ten, or even the world’s top twenty. We could argue all day as to “why,” but that’s not the purpose of this post.
The Newest Great Idea: Start school a half-hour later so kids can be in a better mood. Of course, in the Real World, which school is supposed to prepare them for, I can say with reasonable certainty that, when you work, you report to work when your boss tells you to report.
Adolescents undergo substantial shifts in their circadian rhythms, which make it easier for them to stay up late and harder for them to wake up early. “On a practical level, this means that the average adolescent has difficulty falling asleep before 11 p.m., and the ideal wake up time is around 8 a.m.,” Owens and her team note in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
There’s good scientific evidence “that the average adolescent is chronically sleep-deprived and pathologically sleepy,” they point out.
Try that excuse at work and see how well it works out for you.
I do have a question: Will this mean that students will be staying in school a half-hour longer, or are we going to shorten the school day even more?
Let’s face it, the positive impact of this idea is short-lived. After a few months, kids will still think school starts too early. The people who are always late now will be late then as well. That’s why I think I have a better idea:
We could start the school day at Noon.
Everybody gets a trophy for showing up on-time at least twice a week. Those who don’t show up at all get a trophy too, so they won’t feel left out. But both trophies will have to be the same size so as not to offend anyone’s self-esteem.
Suspended students get trophies too, so that they know we still love them even if they did try to kill someone in the hall.
Failing students will get two trophies as an incentive to do better. I’m not sure how getting rewarded for failure works, but “experts” say it does, so it must be true.
We could start with a free nutritious lunch from 12 to 1, and then go straight to study hall. Then there would be a nice human sexuality course complete with pictures and a video, followed by a physcial exam at the school free clinic. Then we can have a short class on how to recycle–in three languages. If there’s time, we can teach them to count their change, or, if they don’t want to learn that, we could give them a buffet of elective learning choices on various subjects for the last half hour, such as Islamic Studies, Global Warming, Origami class, or a class on How To Write In Complete, Literate Sentences.
Guess which of those four elective classrooms would be empty? Anybody?
If you get it right, you get a trophy. If you get it wrong, you get a trophy.