Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Calif. law requires a sane start time for teens

Sunday night, Gov Gavin Newsom, Democrat of California, signed SB 328, the “School Start Time Bill,” and an 8:00 start time for middle school and 8:30 start time for high school will be phased in for public school students in the state over the next three years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

8:30orLaterCalifornia / via Twitter

At the Social Justice Humanitas Academy in the San Fernando Valley, students already start the day at 8:30 AM, and first period has an extra 15 minutes to allow time for students to eat breakfast, etc.

“If you get a kid rested and with food in them, the rest of that time can be more effective,” the paper quoted Principal Jeff Austin as saying. “Getting a kid to school or dealing with how late the day goes, those are all technical fixes, but you can’t change the adolescent brain. … I can’t make a kid be awake at 7:45 AM.”

The law has not been without its controversies. Most of the opposition has been focused on calls for local control, calling on the government to allow local boards of education to set start times for schools in their districts based strictly on their own needs. But the argument generally falls flat in the face of decades of published science.

Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Medical Association, and the California State Parent Teacher Association all have expressed a positive opinion about the new law.

The AAP was quoted as saying it “recognizes insufficient sleep in adolescents as a public health issue, endorses the scientific rationale for later school start times, and acknowledges the potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety and academic achievement.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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