Education official urges schools to push back the morning bell - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Education official urges schools to push back the morning bell

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Do you think schools start too early? One lawmaker says they do. US Education Secretary Arne Duncan says pushing back the first bell of the day could benefit your kids.

But Duncan's plea to local schools might not turn heads. Quincy Notre Dame Principal Mark McDowell says there's more to it than just moving the bell.

"The number one factor would probably be the logistics," said McDowell. "We've had a great working relationship with Quincy Public Schools and we rely on them for our transportation and in this community that often dictates the start and ending time of schools."

McDowell adds that there's a ripple effect there. He says if school starts later, it gets out later, pushing back practices and sending activity buses driving late at night to away-games and competitions. And changing the start time, he says, is just not feasible.

Duncan says students would get more out of their education. But he also acknowledges a delayed start time would be problematic for bus schedules. And local school officials say that's the driving factor.

"It may be a good thing for students to bump back start times when it's possible to do so, but there is the ripple effect as well in terms of if you start at nine o'clock versus eight o'clock," said McDowell. "And then you have extra-curriculars and practices."

While he's not considering making the move, McDowell says he's not dis-crediting Duncan's plea.

"There is research, no doubt, that shows that if you can allow young people to sleep more that from a health benefits side that there is some improvement," said McDowell. "In terms of academic performance I really haven't seen as much on that front."

McDowell says starting early has benefits, too.

"If you start earlier you finish earlier and in terms of the activities after school, that's a plus," said McDowell. "You have fewer people on the road later at night whether that's practice or especially some of the contests that would be played out of town."

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