The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

An end to the 7 hour school day

Students’ needs should be supported
Amanda Sebastiano

Academics debate how long a student’s school day should be. Students’ perspectives on why the school day should be shorter are rarely considered. I posit that reducing school hours per day is not detrimental to student learning and achievement but rather an effective method to ensure student attention and acquisition of content.

School is the backbone of our society. The sustainability of the world socially, economically, and environmentally depends on how the younger generation manages the expectations of a demanding and unforgiving society.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2021, about 49.4 million students went to public K-12 schools. Data also shows that about 19 million students attended universities and colleges. About 67% of the US population went to school in 2021. 

In 2021, there were 2.0 million student dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24. The correlation between content retention and dropping out cannot be ignored. The school day should improve to benefit student learning and student ability to stay in school. 

Attention spans are getting shorter over time.

Students’ ability to learn effectively is dependent on their attention span. Attention spans early in the morning are less able to process and retain new information as well as they could in the later morning.

An article from CNN says, “The world’s #1 most downloaded app is TikTok, an infinite stream of very short video clips. Newspaper articles are getting shorter, and they tell you how much time you’ll need to read them.” 

Attention spans have been lessening with the widespread use of technology and applications with high stimuli. The combination of going to school at a late start, and focusing on a few classes a day — versus seven blocks a school day (like there is at my high school) —would be more effective.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that 13- 18-year-olds regularly sleep 8 to 10 hours per night for good health. Those who don’t are more likely to perform poorly during the day.

High school students who don’t get enough sleep are also more likely to experience frequent periods of sadness or hopelessness. These mood problems can have devastating consequences, as they can lead to depression.

CDC data demonstrates that insufficient sleep is common among teens. About 69% of high school students report sleeping 7 hours or less on school nights. A high percentage of students are at risk of experiencing isolation and depression.

A study from BCP Education shows that studying a subject for 10 hours or more compared to studying between 5 and 10 hours has no significant effect on a student’s overall performance.

Some might argue that longer school hours are better for students. When a school day becomes shorter, it becomes challenging for working parents with children in grades K-12.

Parents would have to set up activities for their children to fill the gap between the end of school and the end of work. Families with busy schedules would need child care and after-school activities, thereby incurring further financial burdens.

Students are required to do activities that involve long thought processes that lead toward accomplishing a goal.

However, the pent-up stress from a long day for the students would make parents more anxious. Having a shorter school day would allow students to focus more on the classes they have that day.

Throughout high school, students must learn time management, social skills, and effective learning while participating in extracurricular activities and family commitments.

Students must get adequate sleep to perform at a higher standard during school. Starting school 30 minutes later would benefit students and teachers. Dividing class blocks throughout the entire school week, with 3-4 classes a day, would allow students to focus on a few subjects and give them time to concentrate. Students who feel better about their classes can perform better in extracurriculars and exams.

Contacting a local school board and communicating this problem, or signing this petition for later start times, would raise awareness of this issue and advance toward a solution.

Contributing members of society and an effective and competitive workforce will only be produced if students are properly educated. The long-term effects of positive mental and social-emotional learning will reduce the high rate of depression in adults. This can only be possible if the school day is modified to support student needs. 

Students have immediate needs that should be met since it protects them from future failure in handling the demands of adulthood, whether that be parenthood, careers, or both. Small changes now can lead to great impact in the future.

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About the Contributor
Sienna Tripp, Student Journalist
Sienna Tripp is a freshman at Hamilton-Wenham. She is excited to write for the General Consensus. When she heard of a journalism class, she thought it would be a great opportunity to expand her writing skills. Outside of school, she participates in extracurricular activities such as club soccer and basketball. Besides sports, Sienna also likes playing piano.

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