Education Secretary suggests later school days for high schoolers

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HOUSTON, TX – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan likes to push buttons. Now he wants to let high school teens push some — the snooze buttons on their alarm clocks.

“Teenagers, study after study have shown, mornings are very difficult. You know, they’re not awake, they’re groggy, they’re not able to pay attention in class,” Duncan told NPR. “If we were able to start later, if they were able to be more focused, if they were able to concentrate in class, that’s a really good thing…. so often (in) education, we design school systems that work for adults and not for kids.”

Starting classes later for teens would require new bus schedules and could threaten after-school activities and jobs. But would it be worth it? Students we talked to at Sharpstown High School seemed to say yes, but their opinions flipped pretty quickly when they realized they’d have to stay until 6 or 7 at night.

At the end of the day, Secretary Duncan and the federal government really don’t have the power to change school start times. That’s up to local school boards. But it’s pretty obvious when it comes to the classroom — when students snooze, we all lose!

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