Friday, October 10, 2014

Start school day later so teens can get more sleep, N.J. lawmaker says

Columbus Day Activities- Columbus Park, Hoboken
October, 2014 reports that NJ state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) plans to introduce a bill Thursday that would direct the state Department of Education to study the potential health benefits of starting middle and high school students’ days later, as well as the negative academic consequences of sleep deprivation.

“Studies are showing that our current school start time system is flipped the wrong way,” Codey said in a statement. “Middle and high school start times are too early and elementary and pre-k classes are too late." Codey’s legislation follows an August policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommends beginning school days for adolescents at 8:30 a.m.

“Doing so will align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty,” the association said in a press release.

“This is more than a matter of teenagers dozing at their desks, this is about their health and ability to learn, retain information and succeed,” Codey said. “The smart thing to do is to start the school day at a time that is best for learning and best for the health and safety of students.”
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who decides what bills get put up for a vote, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Codey’s legislation.