High school daze
It was interesting to read the comments on Kristin Rushowy's weekend story about a Toronto high school that plans to shift its start time to 10 a.m. beginning in September 2009.
The pilot project is a response to research that shows that teens experience a circadian shift that means they fall asleep at adult-like bedtimes (quite a bit later, in many cases) but still require child-like amounts of sleep. Couple this with a socio-economic reality that plenty of teens hold part-time jobs in the evening, and it all adds up to bleary eyes and poor attention in the early morning hours.
Response ranged from supportive to indignant. Some felt this was a practical solution that acknowledges advances in what we know about teen brain physiology, not to mention, just plain good sense. Others suggested that giving in to the lazy ways of teens, so to speak, would worsen the work-ethic problems that some feel are already endemic among Gen-Y workers. One even went as far as to say that graduates from Eastern Commerce would go on his "do not hire" list.
It could be argued that resisting this change on the grounds of "we've always done it this way" is akin to holding on to hazing rituals or 24-hour shifts for medical residents, even though both are acknowledged as unwise. I'm looking forward to seeing what teachers, students - and ultimately - test results, will have to say about the program's success. Stay tuned!