PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Studies have shown that students who get more sleep do better in school.
On Monday, California passed a law stating that middle school students will start the day no earlier than 8 a.m. and high school students no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
KDKA’s John Shumway spoke to Governor Tom Wolf earlier today on KDKA Radio about the topic.
“It actually is interesting,” Wolf said. “I think kids in high school and middle school age really actually do better if they get a later start in school.”
“This sounds like one of the things that we are to have a discussion about … what should Pennsylvania be doing here.”
Some local school districts have already implemented later start times for the school day.
Dr. Thomas Ralston, the superintendent of the Avonworth School District, said they began a later start time three years ago.
He said there has been a reduction in late arrivals, lower stress levels, and better attendance.
“In terms of the research, I absolutely believe that kids would do better,” said Dr. Nancy J. Hines, superintendent in the Penn Hills School District. “The older kids in particular, if they started later. But in terms of practicality, I’m not sure we could accomplish that in our particular district.”
There are 3,300 students in the Penn Hills School District, and the district is responsible for transporting another 1,400 students from 80 other schools, including charter schools.
So if you change one piece of the puzzle, it impacts the entire area, meaning there are concerns.
“I think after-school jobs would be a concern … We have about 65 or 67 percent of our families who are considered to be in poverty and a lot of our kids have after-school jobs … They have to be home at the bus stop to pick up a little one. So there would be an impact there another hardship for families,” Hines said.
Dr. Hines said she will continue to watch and learn as she talks to other superintendents.