The Curse of America’s Illogical School Day Schedule
Schools are supposed to help students grow in knowledge and prepare for the real world, but unfortunately, one aspect that takes away from these goals is the school schedule. Most schools are scheduled in a way that harms students more than helps them.
What is the Typical School Schedule?
Every school is slightly different, but for the most part, elementary schools run from 8:30 to either 3 or 3:30, and middle schools and high schools are typically from 7:30 to either 2 or 2:30. Each of these schedules includes a lunch break that is 30 minutes to an hour, and elementary schools usually have some type of recess break, but then the rest of the day is filled with classes. The school times may also vary based on the state.
The typical school year runs from the beginning of September to May or June, and classes run Monday through Friday. Each school has its own breaks that typically center around major holidays, and those are generally posted before the school year even starts.
School Starts Too Early
Most schools start their school day extremely early, generally between 7:30 and 8:30, which means that many kids need to be getting up unnaturally early just to catch the bus and make it to class on time. Even though many schools have pushed back their start times slightly, it is still much earlier than it should be for students.
By waking up that early every day for school, the sleep schedule of students is disrupted, which makes it harder to focus for their first classes, especially since they are used to sleeping in late on weekends. Plus, most jobs in the real world start at around 9:00, so why wouldn’t we prepare students for this instead of having them wake up exhausted each day?
School Ends Before the Workday
Also, schools typically end a few hours before the typical workday is over. This means that many parents will not be home in time to watch their kids, which can be difficult for families with young children. Because if this early end time for schools, parents either need to find a sitter for their kids after school or find somewhere for them to stay until they get home from work. Therefore, not only does the current school schedule harm students, but it can also be difficult for parents to work around it.
What Should the Ideal School Schedule Be?
Ideally, there should always be a later start time, closer to around 8:30. This would give students some extra time to sleep in, and it would still allow parents to get them ready for school on time before the workday. Then, the school day should end closer to 5 so that kids will be able to get home around the same time as their parents. However, this would lengthen the school day a bit, so instead of having classes for the entirety of the day, they could add in extra creative activities, such as sports, arts, and music in between core classes to keep students engaged.
Even though there is a more ideal way of doing things, it is unlikely that the school schedules will change anytime soon. Unfortunately, it is just a routine that students need to get used to, even if it is a bit early for their natural sleep schedule. It is possible that some schools might be willing to make adjustments if enough attention is brought to it, but it is never a guarantee.