Poll School Time 460139639
What Americans say about…

School hours: Should we change the school schedule?

On a topic debated across the generations, high school parents are largely satisfied with their child’s current school schedule. But they say it could be better.

School hours are a perennial topic of debate. The 2018 PDK poll finds limited complaints but also a preference for later start and end times to the school day among high school parents. One attractive reason is to allow for more classroom time; another is simply to let kids sleep in. The possibility of increased bus time or bus expenses doesn’t raise much concern.

In general, nearly all parents — 92% — say current school start and end times work very or somewhat well with their family’s schedules, a result that’s consistent across grade levels. And three-quarters of high school parents wouldn’t change the current length of the school day.

Still, high school parents do identify some potential areas for change. Sixty-four percent say their child’s current school start time is between 7 and 7:45 a.m., but only one-third of parents pick this as their preferred school start time. Instead, 66% would prefer that school start at 8 a.m. or later — just 36% say their child’s school now starts at 8 a.m. or later.

Fathers of high schoolers are more likely to favor an early start, with 42% saying school should start between 7 and 7:45 a.m., compared with just 24% of mothers. There’s common ground at 8 to 8:45 a.m., preferred by 48% of fathers and 57% of mothers.

Similarly, 54% say their high schooler’s school day now ends at 2 to 2:45 p.m., but fewer (33%) call this ideal. Sixty-three percent of high school parents want school to end at 3 p.m. or later. School now ends that late for many fewer (42%).

Parents whose oldest (or only) child is a high school boy are more likely than those whose oldest is a girl to prefer a 2 to 2:45 p.m. end-of-school time, 46% vs. 19%. Parents whose oldest is a girl are more likely to favor a slightly later slot, 3 to 3:45 p.m.

In all, about 6 in 10 high school parents would like a change of at least 30 minutes in either school start or end times — in almost all cases, a later start or a later end time.

Pdkpoll K20 Start End Table

Asked about positive reasons to change school schedules, 71% endorse creating more time in the classroom and 63% like letting their high schooler get more sleep. Many fewer (41%) say it would be worth it to change the schedule to better fit their work hours. (Just one-third of whites say that accommodating one’s work is a good reason to adjust the schedule vs. 52% of nonwhites.)

Asked about negatives of a schedule change, just 28% and 32% express concern about more time on the school bus or higher school district costs for bus service. More, but still a minority (41%), are concerned about conflicts with before- or after-school activities.

Pdkpoll K20A B Reason To Not To Change

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