California Pushes Back School Start Times


Students aren't getting enough sleep to do their best in school?

Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, many California students will have more time to sleep each night before school. On October 13, 2019, California governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will push back many school start times. With this new law, middle schools must start no earlier than 8:00 am and high schools must start no earlier than 8:30 am. But this does not affect optional early classes such as zero periods.

This new law hopes to improve student health by letting students get more sleep at night and arrive at school rested and prepared to learn. Getting insufficient amounts of sleep may make it harder for students to pay attention in class and learn the material being taught to them. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students between the ages of 6 to 12 get no less than 9 hours of sleep and teenagers get no less than 8 hours of sleep a night. But, only 1 of every 4 students get more than 8 hours of sleep each night. If teenagers don’t meet these sleep requirements, then they can become prone to injuries, obesity, diabetes, depression and many more bad effects. 

Opponents to this new law are concerned with how this may affect after school extracurricular activities such as sports. This new law will result in sporting events ending later in the afternoon causing students to stay awake later in the night doing homework. This will nullify the effect many hope the law will have on students’ health. The students may get no more sleep than they do now because they will be getting to sleep later while also waking up later. 

This change may also affect parents trying to get to work on time in the morning. Parents will have less time to get to work each morning since they will be dropping their children off at school later. This may cause them to be late to work each morning and eventually cause them to have to start working later in the morning. This could have unfavorable consequences for struggling families because a later start time would mean parents get paid less and they could lose essential money they need to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. 

This new law will not go into effect until the 2022-2023 school year, but it will help the health of many students when it eventually goes into effect. This will be an advantage for students who are in need of more sleep. It will also help the mental mindset of many students who struggle with it now.