California Passes Law Forcing High Schools to Start after 8:30 A.M.

California students may be sleeping in a bit more than the rest of the country as schools in the state are set to start later.

According to a new bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, high school classes will no longer be allowed to start before 8:30 a.m., and middle school classes before 8 a.m., CNN reports.

Schools will have to follow the new start times set by 2022 as they are given three years to comply with the law. The law applies to public and charter schools, except for rural school districts. Before this law was signed, almost 80% of public middle and high schools statewide start before 8:30 a.m., with the average start time being 8:07 a.m.

The move coincides with the initiatives being pushed by the “start school later” movement for decades. The idea is to make school districts adjust their daily calendars for the sake of student health. California State Parent Teacher Association (CSPTA) also supported the law.

“We think of it as almost a joke, that teenagers are always crabby in the morning and they stay up way too late,” CSPTA president  Celia Jaffe was quoted as saying

“[Later school start times are] better for their mental health, it reduces depression and other mental health problems.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association all suggest that middle and high schools that start at 8:30 a.m. or later will help ensure that students arrive refreshed and ready to learn.

Based on studies, later start times in schools indeed result in better attendance, less tardiness, fewer students falling asleep in class and improved grades. Findings also suggest that starting later lowers the risk of developing issues such as depression and substance abuse among teens.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report last year that students who sleep at least eight hours each night get better grades and have better attendance. Currently, over 60% of middle schoolers and 70% of high school students don’t get enough sleep.

Meanwhile, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), which opposed the law, cautioned against how the later start times would cause unexpected expenses to teachers and school districts.

“Often working families have strict schedules with less work flexibility and they won’t always be able to accommodate them in a way that’s necessary to make late start times work,” CSBA spokesperson Troy Flint said.

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com