California’s Senate Education Committee recently held a heated debate over SB328. The legislation is aimed at prohibiting middle and high school students from starting their regular school days before 8:30 a.m.
Conflict regarding the legislation was largely centered over potential issues related to student health, practicality, and local control. Although the bill’s author, Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada- Flintridge), acknowledged the concerns, he reminded his peers that in districts where later start times are already in place have seen “a measurable increase in academic performance, a measurable decrease in car accidents caused by tired teenagers, a measurable increase in all of the benefits, and a decrease in all the things that the legislature hopes to solve [with the bill].”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association have all confirmed that later school start times can lead to improved academic success in nearly every subject and higher rates of school attendance.