Should the United States Abolish Daylight Saving Time?

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Should the United States Abolish Daylight Saving Time?

People living in most parts of the United States experienced the start of daylight saving time on Sunday morning. What do you think about the ritual of pushing clocks one hour forward, and then, in autumn, moving them back one hour? Have you heard that some places are pushing to abolish daylight saving time? What are your thoughts on that? In “Daylight Saving Is Here. Suppose We Made This Time Change Our Last?,” Kirk Johnson writes:

“I cannot change the rotation of the earth and sun,” said Kansen Chu, a California lawmaker who is sponsoring a bill to keep the state permanently on daylight time — one of at least 31 states that are addressing some aspect of daylight saving and its discontents. “But I am hoping to get more sunlight to the people of California.”

Proponents of setting the clock once and being done with it, like Mr. Chu, a Democrat from the San Jose area, said that shifting back and forth in the spring and fall, if it ever really made sense, no longer does.

California voters agreed last fall, approving a ballot proposition for year-round daylight time by a wide margin.

Lifestyles and patterns of work are different now than they were when daylight saving first became entrenched nationally during and after World War II. Research, Mr. Chu and others said, has shown that human beings just aren’t as flexible about their daily rhythms as they once seemed; accidents, heart attacks and strokes tend to occur in greater numbers around the time shift.

The 1966 law allows states to opt out of daylight saving, and Hawaii and Arizona do so, staying on standard time all year; so does Puerto Rico. But for reasons that historians say remain murky, the law does not allow states to opt in all the way, and choose daylight time year-round. So the California proposal, and a similar bill passed by the Florida Legislature last year, would require an act of Congress to take effect.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

— How helpful, if at all, do you think daylight saving time is? To what degree is it worth the hassle of changing clocks, “losing” and later “gaining” an hour of time?

— What is the most important reason that supports your stance on either preserving or abolishing daylight saving?

— What effects do you predict ending daylight saving would have on the economy? What about people’s health? Why do you think that?

— Should there be requirements such as all states in a time zone, or adjacent to one another, reaching consensus about keeping with or breaking from daylight saving time? Or should the decision be made for the whole country?

— What are some reasons people may oppose a federal ruling about the ritual? Why might people support it?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.