Later school start times, The downside of optimizing everything

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time
Three yellow school buses are parked in front of a brick school building.
School buses are parked in front of Patrick Marsh Middle School on Friday, April 23, 2021, in Sun Prairie, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

The Madison Metropolitan School District recently pushed back some school start times. We find out why and learn about research on school start times and educational success. We also chat with the author of a new book about why we seem determined to optimize everything, from our technology to our bodies.

Featured in this Show

  • Teens benefit from later school start times. So why isn't it a no-brainer?

    Studies show that there are significant health and educational benefits when teens get more sleep, and states around the country have been debating implementing later start times for high schools. A reporter breaks down what’s happening at a local school district that recently changed start times due to bus driver shortages. Then, a leading researcher zooms out for a look at how school start times affect youth sleep health and educational outcomes.

  • How we got obsessed with 'optimizing' everything

    Our guest — a mathematician herself — explains how the advanced math concept of optimization came to be a productivity obsession that now touches many aspects of our lives. We also talk about what we lose while striving for peak efficiency.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Sarah Hopefl Technical Director
  • Tyler Ditter Technical Director
  • Richelle Wilson Producer
  • Tim Peterson Producer
  • Scott Girard Guest
  • Lisa Meltzer Guest
  • Coco Krumme Guest

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