By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Fairfax, VA schools set a goal of starting the high school day no earlier than 8:00 am, joining a Florida pediatrician and district superintendents in Louisiana and Massachusetts in promoting student sleep and health.

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Waking before sunrise means students must go to bed at 8:30pm to get nine hours recommended sleep for growing brains and bodies. Some kids meet buses at 5am – in the dark, often without sidewalks and road shoulders – clearly unsafe.

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Brookings Institution economists have shown that early start times have reduced academic performance and estimated increased student achievement and a corresponding increase in life earnings of approximately $17,500 with a change.

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While communities in Wilton, CN and Minneapolis have later starts with positive impact on sports and jobs, Terra Ziporyn Snider, author of a commentary article in the May 16th Education Week, believes that such a change for all high school students may take federal, state and local laws to set reasonable parameters for health and safety.