Stumbling into class at 7:30 a.m., bleary-eyed and with mismatching faux-leather boots, hurts more than just beleaguered high school students.
According to a new study, it would save the United States billions to shift class starting times to 8:30 a.m. or later. The authors of the Rand Corporation report calculated how a change in start-times nationwide would impact academic performance, future career success, and car accident rates among students, and found that the economic impact would be substantial.
While schools are hesitant to alter their starting times — and only 18 percent of them already start at 8:30 or later — benefits would far outweigh the costs of implementing the policy change, the Washington Post reports.
“The significant economic benefits from simply delaying school start times to 8.30 a.m. would be felt in a matter of years, making this a win-win, both in terms of benefiting the public health of adolescents and doing so in a cost-effective manner,” study co-author Wendy Troxel said in a news release.
The study authors also note that this benefit is an underestimation, and does not attempt to factor students’ mental health, obesity, or criminal behavior into the study. Therefore, it’s entirely likely millions more could be saved.
If school districts listen to this study, it’s possible that instead of sloshing coffee into a to-go cup at 6:45 a.m., skipping breakfast and forgetting to coat one eye with mascara, you could be snuggled in your bed, blissful in the respite of an extra 30-60 minutes of sleep.
As for college students, petition to make 8 a.m. classes illegal. We all know they ought to be.