Floridian here. Busing is one of the problems. In my area, high school starts first, around 7:30 (ends around 3), then elementary around 8:00 (ends around 2), then middle school around 9:15 (ends around 4), though there are magnet schools at every level that start around 7:00.
One county over (or rather, several other local counties), high school starts before 7 am and they get out before 2 pm.
The busing problem is that the same buses are used for elementary thru high and they aren’t on time and kids have been missing the beginning of school…oh yeah, and there is a serious shortage of bus drivers because they have been getting abused by the kids and not supported by the school district (aka it’s not worth the hassle/pay).
The other problem was that because high schoolers in other counties get out so early, our District’s students cannot compete for jobs…because they are still sitting in school.
So, our District tried to implement a change to where some will go to school even earlier (high school) to get out earlier, and some will go even later (elementary and middle) to get out later…and the parents got angry. So they are delaying the decision another school year. They will still be angry next year if it is changed.
I’ve known about the sleep research for many years. But honestly, I don’t know the solution. I enjoy sleep and need at LEAST a solid 8 hours as an adult not to be a foggy bitch. As a teen, I slept a lot, too. When I worked middle school, I enjoyed being able to wake up naturally, when my body felt rested. However, I HATED that my work hours hindered my ability to handle any of my personal business. Working at an earlier time, I hated waking up in the dark. However, I am at my best earlier in the morning and my energy wanes after midday. I LOVED getting off work early enough to be able to handle my personal business and take a nap.
Kids in high school sleep during school, but kids in middle school sleep during the school day, too. Maybe we should have a siesta.