California Will Push Back School Start Times Under New Law

California students will soon be catching a few more Zs before school.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 328, making California the first state in the U.S. to push back class start times.

The bill was authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge). His last attempt was met with a veto by then Gov. Jerry Brown. Under the new law, middle schools will eventually begin classes no earlier than 8 a.m. High schools will start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

The new requirements must be adopted by the 2022-23 school year or when a school’s three-year collective bargaining agreement has run its course.

The medical community has long advocated for later start times based on the important role sleep plays in everything from brain development to physical health and emotional regulation. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called lack of sleep among teens “an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety” of students.

”Today, Gov. Newsom displayed a heartwarming and discerning understanding of the importance of objective research and exercised strong leadership as he put our children’s health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change,” said Portantino. “Generations of children will come to appreciate this historic day and our governor for taking bold action. Our children face a public health crisis. Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier.”

The bill was opposed by a number of groups representing teachers. The California Teachers Association called Newsom’s approval “unfortunate,” with a spokesperson saying it could prove difficult for many families.”


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