U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on Twitter this week “...let teens sleep more, start school later," linking to a Washington Post Editorial Board article saying sleep loss can mean academic underperformance and lower standardized test scores.
Duncan tweeted: "Common sense to improve student achievement that too few have implemented: let teens sleep more, start school later"— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) August 19, 2013
The Fairfax County School Board has failed numerous times to push back start times for its high schoolers from the current 7:20 a.m., but continues to revisit the issue.
The School Board has partnered with the Children’s National Medical Center’s Division of Sleep Medicine to further study the issue, according to the Post editorial.
Additionally, Montgomery County has a working group slated to issue a proposal on the matter this fall.
"It’s good to see these districts – two of the largest in the nation – take the issue seriously, and hopefully they’ll follow the lead of their Arlington and Loudoun counterparts, which already have later start times,” wrote the Editorial Board.
The City of Alexandria’s public high school, T.C. Williams, has a start time of 8:35 a.m.
Critics of a later start time say a shift likely would mean more dollars for extra buses and drivers and changes in the schedules of teachers, parents and coaches.