November 6, 2012

Regarding the Nov. 3 Metro article “The hour of their discontent”:

The focus of our schools should be the development of well-informed thinkers in good physical, mental and emotional health. Science and experience show that requiring teenagers to be in class before 7:30 a.m. works against that goal. Even among adults, fatigue contributes to poor decision-making and impaired judgment, two areas that are already challenging for teenagers.

Any analysis of the cost of changing high school start times should consider the contribution of the early start to behavioral issues, learning issues, missed school, dropping out and the negative health impacts of fatigue. With a later school start time, extracurricular activities and students jobs could be scheduled before school.

Change is rarely easy, and it takes time to adjust to new schedules. But we owe it to our children and ourselves to change school start times to maximize learning and minimize stress for our students.

Elaine Wolf Komarow, Vienna