Life and Arts

What Time Should School Start?

National debate emerges in California

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  • August, 2018: The California (CA) legislature passed Senate Bill 328 which requires all CA middle and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. [The New York Times]

  • California lawmakers wish to enforce this policy by July 2021 or when the collective bargaining contract expires. [The Mercury News]

  • According to the CDC, 5 out of 6 middle and high schools in the U.S. start before 8:30a.m. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

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  • The bill was initially introduced to the state assembly in 2017 but was stalled due to fierce criticism. [The Sacramento Bee]
  • After passing both branches of the legislature, the fate of the bill moved to Governor Jerry Brown where he decides if it will be signed into law or not.



Although it may not seem major at the time, a change to daily routine is highly disruptive. Is this a critical change worth the potential "growing pains"?


Parental concerns

A delayed start in a school day could lead to more stress on parents, who would now work around dropping their children off at school while also making it to work on time. [CBS News



Many lobbying against

The California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association opposed Senate Bill 328, saying the government should not be able to impose a wide scale change in the school day without the input of local school districts.


The California School Boards Association has even argued that a later start time is a "luxury" that families in lower socioeconomic status cannot afford. [The Sacramento Bee



Time is money 

As a result of a belated school start time, public buses will need to readjust bus routes, which leads to increased transportation costs. Some estimate it would be an additional $10 million a year.  [The New York Times]


Mental health needs 

According to a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, lack of sleep from students impedes their mental health, citing an increased risk for depression and anxiety. [American Academy of Pediatrics], [The New York Times



Health issues 

Later school hours work in favor of a young adult’s crucial sleep schedule. One of the many changes kids go through during puberty and adolescence include sleep cycles, where they tend to be more alert at later hours of the day due to shifting melatonin levels. [American Sleep Apnea Association]


Recent research suggests that sleep is critical for controlling the expression of your genes and the development of your social brain. [Science Daily]




With tired students come poor academic performances and even absentee children. Both are a factor that can negatively affect how much federal funding a public school receives. [CBS News


  • Sep. 20, 2018: Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. [The Sacramento Bee
  • “These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community,” Brown said in his veto explanation.


  • Read through the Senate Bill 328 here.

  • How will later start times affect school sports and other after school activities?

  • Watch to learn more about lobbying.

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