TN lawmaker proposes later start of school hours, free meals for students to ensure better academic results

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Will a later school start time provide better outcomes for students? A Nashville lawmaker thinks so and says schools should return to an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day across Tennessee.

Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) says it makes sense to make sure kids aren’t restless in schools and says he has the science to back up his proposal. “The American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the United States Office of the Surgeon General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, you know, a whole host of health care organizations, the National PTA Association,” listed Clemmons.

Clemmons introduced the bill to ensure academic success by requiring classroom instruction to begin at 8:30 a.m. for high school students and 8 a.m. for middle school students. “My priorities are to improve educational opportunities, student performance and outcomes, and to protect and enhance student health and well-being,” Clemmons said.

According to the CDC, they agree, saying middle and high school students are starting the school day too early. Teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep per night and young college students need at least nine hours.

“Governor Lee is talking about something I disagree with, which is tying school funding to academic performance and test scores. Well, science says that students do better and test better if they get enough sleep, are rested and are not hungry,” he said.

However, Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton balked at the initial idea. “There may be very good reasons why they want to start at 7:05, I’m not sure, but I think it has to be left to their decision as to what they think and allow them to make that decision on their own- same”, Sexton mentioned.

“For decades school has gone from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. It’s still possible, all the challenges and inconveniences that any school district might face can be overcome. Our state is sitting on billions of dollars, we can provide better school transportation, we can pay bus drivers more,” Clemmons said.

Clemmons also introduces a bill to ensure no student goes hungry at school.

“It is 2022 and students still have to pay for their meals. Our students need to be in school, we require it by law – let’s go one step further to help ensure their performance in the classroom by eliminating any possible hunger issues and making all school meals free,” he said. -he adds.

According to the CDC, students who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, not get enough physical activity, suffer from depression, engage in unhealthy risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol , smoking tobacco or using drugs, as well as having poor results. at school.

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