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Home Education School Survey shows Anne Arundel County split over later school start proposal

Survey shows Anne Arundel County split over later school start proposal

schoolstartAnne Arundel County seems to be split on the issue of whether to open schools 13 minutes later, according to a survey conducted this past winter by the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.

The Board of Education conducted a survey from Dec. 20 through Feb. 4, to gather data on how parents, students, employees and others feel about modifying the current school schedule to one which starts and ends all school instructional schedules 13 minutes later. Of the 7,000 plus who responded to the survey, 51 percent were against the schedule change and 49 percent were in favor of it.

Superintendent Mamie Perkins appointed a task force last December to look into the schedule change. The National Start School Later movement, which began in and is based in Anne Arundel County, is pushing to move back high school start times — some of which begin before 8 a.m.

Of those respondents affiliated with Anne Arundel County high schools, 63.3 percent were in favor of the schedule change and 37.7 percent were against it. Of the respondents affiliated with elementary school, 57.8 percent were against it and 42.2 percent were in favor of it. Of the respondents affiliated with middle school, 54.3 percent were in favor and 45.7 were against. The majority of the respondents (75 percent) were parents.

One responder commented, “I think this slight shift will allow students to be more prepared and ready for school in the morning. Although still, 7:30 is far to early for students to be alert and ready to focus and be properly educated.”

Another said “Pushing BACK the start time means more hassle for parents with daycare issues and then potential for late arrivals for snow, kids wouldn’t even be getting into school until 11:15.”

Terra Ziporyn Snider, the executive director and cofounder of the movement, called survey poorly designed, giving respondents only a single solution and a limited ability to respond to that option.

“As a result, answers and totals are easily taken out of context and construed to mean much more than they do,” she said. “Many people who want safe and healthy hours voted against the 13-minute change because they either wanted a more meaningful change, or because they worried about one particular aspect of this particular plan. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to see later high school start times!”

The scenario parents were asked to comment on would result in no changes in the length of the current instructional day. The Board has not proposed or adopted any changes in start times for the current or coming school year. The survey was designed to provide a vehicle for input which will be used to help inform further board discussions.

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