CA Assembly Considers Bill to Delay Start of Public Schools to 8:30am

Close up of alarm clock, woman in background.

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The California State Assembly is now considering legislation that would postpone the start of public middle and high schools until 8:30 a.m. each day, after a large majority of the California State Senate passed the bill earlier this year.

California Senate Bill 328 passed out of the Senate by a majority vote of 25 to 13. The legislation, titled “Pupil attendance: school start time,” provides that the “public school day for middle schools and high schools shall begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m. no later than July 1, 2020.” The most recent version of the bill does provide a two-year waiver for rural districts, but all state public schools would be calendared to start at 8:30 a.m. by 2022.

When the primary and secondary education system started in the 1800s, California public school districts were free to set school calendars and hours. City schools tended to go year-round, and rural schools were open for the equivalent of five months, with winter and summer sessions that allowed farm children to help with planting and harvesting crops.

Union concerns about the ill effects of too much schooling on students’ and teachers’ health led to eliminating summer terms and setting a standardized statewide 180-day school year in the 1950s. The California Legislature cut the public school year calendar to 175 days in 2008. The change was described by unions as an effort to reduce environmental damage by reducing transportation, heating and cooling, and food service costs.

But with California public schools’ National Assessment of Educational Progress standardized test scores for 4th- and 8th-grade student math and reading scores plunging to the bottom fifth of U.S. states, the 180-day school year was reestablished in 2015.

The justification for later school days is based on studies by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that the daily recommendation for sleep is 16 to 18 hours for newborn babies, 11 to 12 hours for preschool children, 10 hours for school-age children, and 9 to 10 hours for teenagers. But with an individual’s biological clock shifting forward in adolescence, teenagers tend to become more alert and have difficulty falling asleep in the evening and waking early in the morning, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

SB-328 cleared the Assembly Education Committee by a 5-to-2 vote and is moving toward an Assembly floor vote. Governor Jerry Brown has not indicated whether he will sign the legislation if it is passed and moved to desk.

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  1. Charlet McEvoy says

    This is not right. They need to leave things alone. Parents go to work and the different times school starts helps them a lot. Always changing things without the people of California. More kids will be left alone to get ready and go to school by themselves , making an unsafe environment.

  2. THE CAPTIVE says

    Kids need to keep the EARLY SCHEDULE! The early-bird does get the worm. BEING RESPONSIBLE is more important than the “feel-good” mantra. Why isn’t COMMON CORE being removed ? It is built on the NAZIS WW2 SCHOOLS ideology. Now it is being combined with NAZI-ISLAM AND that is wrong and treasonous!

  3. It helps prepare them for later in life where in college you have 8am classes and when you get a job you start at 8am

  4. retiredxlr8r says

    First, I would not accept anything a public employee union recommended. After all they are an unethical organization and really should be outlawed.
    And, as for getting enough sleep, maybe that isn’t the states job. Parents need to be responsible for that. And starting at 8:30 will change nothing.
    Now the success and failure of California schools is in the hands of the teachers and the parents, but of course now we have the unethical, illegal unions influencing school performance.
    Get rid of the common denominator of your problems, public employee unions and your problem is solved!

  5. George Benoit says

    Will the change in starting time affect the content of subjects taught In California’s schools? For example, will it obviate teaching of civics or the US Constitution? Or has that been done already? I’m a little behind the times.

  6. I see, too much teaching or schooling has a deleterious effect on the teachers and students, so we need to reduce this large burden we put on them. Of course, the farmer, the construction worker, the medical personnel and all else who work every day, usually 8-10 hours a day, are quite alright with their burdens. Teaching causes no more stress than other, even more demanding, job, so why should teachers be given this consideration. Oh, maybe they are taking their lesson from Congress?

  7. Voters are never too young to bribe.

  8. In the 1700’s Ben Franklin opined “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” In the 2000’s the CA legislature dictates, “Later to bed, later to rise, makes a student sicker, poorer and dumber.”

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