Later Start Times Met With Consternation From Teachers Unions, Superintendents

Gavin Newsom is facing a cascade of criticism over his decision to sign a bill pushing back school start times.

The California Globe reports that a number of superintendents are speaking out. Among them: Orange County Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares.

“A multi-year study in the research journal SLEEP and findings from researchers at the UC Davis Sleep Laboratory challenge the argument that students would get persistent benefits from a shift in their school start time,” said Mijares in an email to the California Globe. “Not only would mandating a later start time across the board not have the desired effect, but it would also impose a hardship on too many working families. In fact, this law will disproportionately burden students whose socioeconomic status is already a significant educational barrier.”

“These children are already arriving early to school if their parents are commuting, are farmworkers, or work in construction, restaurants or retail. These students won’t be getting any more sleep, and the additional idle unsupervised time alone could put them in danger. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between keeping their jobs and ensuring the safety of their children,” Mijares added.

East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris Funk, San Jose Unified School District Superintendent Nancy Albarrán, and the California School Boards Association have also made their opposition known.

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.

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