GRE Argument Essay 20

From a letter to the editor of a city newspaper.

“One recent research study has indicated that many adolescents need more sleep than they are getting, and another study has shown that many high school students in our city are actually dissatisfied with their own academic performance. As a way of combating these problems, the high schools in our city should begin classes at 8:30 A.M. instead of 7:30 A.M., and end the school day an hour later. This arrangement will give students an extra hour of sleep in the morning, thereby making them more alert and more productive. Consequently, the students will perform better on tests and other assignments, and their academic skills will improve significantly.”

The letter to the editor suggests that the high schools of the city must start operating an hour later than usual and consequently close one hour later in order to allow students to sleep an hour more in the morning and be more productive. This suggestion comes after taking a clue from the recent study which shows that adolescents need more sleep than they are getting. Moreover, students are dissatisfied by their own performance. With more sleep and sufficient rest they are bound to perform better. Hence, the change in the opening time will solve the problem and help in improving the academic skills amongst students. However, the letter to the editor is based on weakly linked assumptions. It does not identify the real problem and hence does not offer a logical suggestion.

Firstly, it would be incorrect to relate the lack of sleep amongst adolescents with their academic performance. While it is true that lack of rest reflects on the performance of a student, it cannot be confirmed if the students who have expressed dissatisfaction with their performance are not getting enough sleep. There could be other reasons that have led to a slacked academic performance of these students. It is possible that they are not being guided in the correct direction by their teachers. It is also possible that instead of devoting time to studies they have been engaged in other activities like sports, inter-school competitions etc. It is then obvious that the reason behind their slacked academic performance is other than just lack of sleep.

It can further be argued that if the students need more time to sleep, delaying the opening time of schools is not the solution. It needs to be seen why adolescence are not getting enough sleep. It cannot be related to only early opening hours of the schools. It is likely that adolescents are sleeping late because of other engagements. They could be attending gatherings, parties or late night clubs. They could also be watching late night movies and television, or working on the computer. In order to be fresh and active in the morning they must practice sleeping early the night before. A good night’s sleep can be completed by sleeping early and hence getting up early. The schools need not change their time due to some late sleepers, but the students should change their routine and adjust to sleeping early.

The letter to the editor can be criticized on grounds that it does not encourage healthy and good habits of getting up early. A person who begins his day early remains active and alert all day. Instead of suggesting to inculcate good habits the letter promotes getting up late in the morning. Things learnt in adolescence go a long way and are indicative of the habits you will follow all your life. Hence, students at this age should be encouraged to get up early in order to develop such a habit for the rest of their lives. Moreover, delaying the school hours by one hour is not going to make much of a difference since it will just shift the existing routine. That means adolescents might sleep even more late if the school closes an hour later than usual and thus giving them no extra time to rest.

It can be seen that the letter does not take into consideration any of the above mentioned points of discussion. It simply gives a baseless solution of a problem without finding its causes. It can therefore be said that the argument presented in the letter is insufficient and incapable of convincing that the schools the city must change their time of operation.