Education

Later Start Time for Students as Senator Portantino’s Bill Passes

If signed by Governor Brown, the new start times will be implemented in 2021. – Courtesy photo

The California State Assembly voted to pass SB 328, the School Start Time Bill, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge.

“I am beyond thrilled that our children’s health came first today. It is fundamental to put the well-being of our students first and I am glad that this important measure is moving forward. From day one, this has been my top priority.  The science and results are clear, our teens are healthier and perform better when school starts later,” said Senator Portantino

Last year, Senator Portantino authored SB 328 based on strong research and the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The organization issued a policy statement advising school districts to change the school day start time to no earlier than 8:30 a.m., specifically for middle schools and high schools. Studies have confirmed that insufficient sleep in teenage adolescents poses a public health risk. Later start time has resulted in more on-time attendance, higher grades and graduation rates.

“Every year we discuss as parents, educators, and legislators the best practices for our children and their education. The data on this measure is clear and that is starting the school day at a later time improves the quality of education, health and welfare of our children. So let’s do it,” concluded Senator Portantino.

California has over 3 million public middle and high school students. The average school day start time for these students is 8:07 a.m. according to the Center for Disease and Control. California school districts would benefit with later school day start times as funding is tied to attendance. SB 328 will update the California Education Code to ensure that middle and high school start times meet the parameters recommended by the AAP. The bill will allow zero periods, exempts rural districts, and sets an implementation date of 2021.

“We’re grateful to the Assembly for recognizing that later start times will benefit California by increasing high-school graduation rates, boosting academic performance and reducing athlete injuries,” commented Lisa Lewis, co-chair, Start School Later California, which co-sponsored the bill.

“Parents and children across the state are thrilled that the legislature has put the health and safety needs of children above inconveniences of adults.” commented Joy Wake Founder of the High School Parent Engagement Group.

“This is great news for the health, safety, and academic success of our children,” commented Dianna MacDonald, President of the California State PTA.

“This bill is in line with the official positions of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Research Society, National Sleep Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Disease Control, California Medical Association, Start School Later, National Education Association, PTA, and many more local and national health and education organizations. The medical community strongly supports healthy school start times. The data shows that this bill will save money and more importantly save lives.” commented Rafael Pelayo, MD, FAASM, Clinical Professor at Stanford Center for Sleep Science and Medicine.

SB 328 is anticipated to pass the Senate on concurrence and move to the Governor to await his signature.

September 7, 2018

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