Backgrounder: Later School Start Times
of changing school start times on academic performance, behavior and safety in urban and suburban schools (Wahlstrom, 2002). Results from three years of data from both Edina and Minneapolis showed:
In suburban districts, students reported:
Grades showed a slight improvement, although the change was not statistically significant. Researchers noted that it was difficult to assess changes in grades due to differences in school schedules, course names, grading policies, student transience, and the subjective nature of grading by teachers.
Suburban teachers and principals reported:
Suburban counselors reported:
Urban teachers, on the other hand, did not see any general improvement in student behavior.
In suburban schools, after-school athletic and other activity practices and rehearsals were shortened, with students arriving home later; however, actual participation in extracurricular activities and after-school jobs remained at the same level after the start time change. Urban schools, on the other hand, reported fewer students being involved in extracurricular activities, as well as conflicts with after-school jobs and compromised earnings. While some coaches whose sports involved long practices and traveling long distances for events disliked the change, most coaches and activity leaders supported the change because they felt students were less tired and more mentally alert at the end of the day.
Most suburban parents supported the change; urban parents had mixed reactions because of work schedules and transportation limitations. Both groups said their children were easier to live with, with fewer confrontations and