Governor Newsom passes a CA legislation to delay high school start times until after 8:30 AM

Some students feel overwhelmed by early start times at school.

www.edweek.org

Some students feel overwhelmed by early start times at school.

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

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Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an act on October 13 mandating that California middle schools must not start before 8 AM and that high schools may not start before 8:30 AM. A similar legislation was proposed last year, though vetoed by former California Governor Jerry Brown. However, the bill is now in place and is to be adopted by schools before July 1st, 2022, though it has drawn nearly equal support and opposition within California.

Most notably, support from the bill stems from teenage sleep conflicts. Many teenagers, particularly high school students, return home with a heavy workload and often find themselves going to sleep well past midnight. 

Lack of sleep, especially less than eight hours, is linked to increased risks of accidents, injuries, suicide, and many other psychological and physical issues in health, according to a project in 2016 by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Research done by The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014 shows that delaying start times influences improved grades, higher attendance, and increased energy during school, further arguing in favor for later school bells. 

Amber Han (10) agrees with Governor Newsom’s new legislation, stating that it’s “a good step to try to make things better for students by moving back school-starting hours.” 

Schools have traditionally been allowed authority over their own school times and schedules, until Governor Newsom’s policy reform in an attempt to push further scholastic uniformity.

On the contending side, multiple school districts and the prominent California Teachers Association clash against Governor Newsom’s legislation on the grounds of disruption in the daily lives of working-class families. Many working families often operate on strict schedules, which could be costly and disruptive when school schedules shift significantly. 

In addition to families, school districts must spend money to adjust bus schedules, organize sporting events, negotiate with teachers, and change transportation scheduling. Because this new mandatory scheduling tangles with people’s schedules, school districts need sums of money to adjust accordingly many basic school functions. Ameerah Hirji (10) disagrees with the governor’s new law, citing that “it would be harder on parents, who also have work, and they would have to run back and forth trying to pick up their kids, too.” She adds, “I just feel like it would be a hassle for [parents]”

There are many different arguments on both sides of the coin on the governor’s new legislation, but as the current law and matter stands, Yorba Lindans are in for a significant change in their schools by 2022, whether positive or negative. According to Amber Han, “We’ll never know how [the legislation] will all work out until it happens.”

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