In March 2006, Indiana experienced a major change in its sunlight schedule when Eastern Daylight Time was adopted, forcing our students to go to school in the dark. Now, 10 years later, statistics are painting a dismal picture for Indiana’s students and our state’s educational future.
Indiana teens have the second highest suicide attempt rate in the U.S. and the highest death rate due to car crashes. Studies show that more than 50,000 students are chronically absent each year – the majority due to truancy. Test results indicate scholastic performances are plummeting, and our schools are experiencing a major teacher shortage crisis.
Is Eastern Time’s sunlight schedule a primary culprit in all of this? Yes! The American Academy of Pediatrics predicts these very results for students forced to live on adverse sunlight schedules.
All of Indiana was correctly in the Central Time Zone from 1883 to the mid-1960s. Then 80 counties were re-designated to the Eastern Time Zone. For two years (1969-1971) Indiana observed Eastern Daylight Time, but Hoosiers hated it so much that for the next 35 years, we didn’t change our clocks. We were on “Chicago Time” (Central Daylight Time) eight months each year and New York for only four months.
In 2006, our state leaders decided that the confusion caused by not staying in sync with the rest of the U.S. was hampering Indiana’s economic recovery, so they brought back Eastern Daylight Time. Now, 10 years later, our economy is still lagging, and our state’s education and students are going down the tubes.
We don’t have to make a choice between the economy and citizens’ well-being. The answer is to restore Indiana to its correct Central Time Zone with Central Daylight Time. Everyone wins – especially our families, our students and their future.
Sue Dillon, president
Central Time Coalition