So, what are we to do?
The article linked in the button at the bottom of this post is from MindShift, and is all about evidence, and evidence that’s clear: later start times for school help kids. Schools help kids. In college I took a class called “Logic and Semantics” (part of my Philosohy Major requirements... yup... Philosophy Major...). So if start times help kids learn better, and schools are places of learning, then logically it makes sense for schools to start later. Right? Simple logic. It’s better for kids, so we do it. Simple. Okay... we’re done.
Except we’re not, are we?
LD 770, “An Act To Provide for a Later Starting Time for High Schools” has made its way through the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs (Maine). It currently stands as a Divided Report, meaning the Majority and Minority parties disagree, but it’s unclear at this moment which way the bill will go: Ought to Pass, or Ought Not To Pass (as of this writing, that information is not yet on the bill’s webpage). There were twelve people/organizations that provided testimony, most of whom were in favor. However, the Maine Principal’s Association (MPA) began their testimony in the following way:
We do not dispute research that suggests that later start times for high school age students may better reflect the sleep patterns of teenage students. But ...” Dick Durost, MPA Executive Director; MPA Testimony on LD 770
Now that Game of Thrones is back for it’s final season, may I present to you the following:
Nothing someone says before the word ‘but’ really counts.” - Benjen Stark, House Winterfell
So, I ask again... what are we to do?
Are we to follow the evidence? OR ignore it because changing is full of “but’s”?
I don’t believe that from one side of our mouth we should say “trust the professionals; follow the research; use objective evidence to support your decisions,” and then from the other side of our mouth say, “yeah, but still...”.
The evidence is clear. The research is solid. The facts are there. Yes, it will be messy... but there’s beauty and functionality and purpose to mess at times. If we want to do what’s truly best for kids, then schools need the support of our organizations, administration, and legislators to fund and create structures/policies/procedures that are based on those best practices and evidence-based research, and say “damn the torpedos” to the “but’s” that based on nothing more than fear or anxiety or “it’s always been this way,” or “it was good enough for me as a kid, why is now any different.”
Leadership takes courage, strength, vision, and evidence. The evidence is there... let’s focus on the other three and do what’s right for the kids.
Read the full article below by clicking the button below.