The California State Legislature narrowly passed a mandate late Friday to delay the start time of Middle and High School classes until 8:30am.
It passed 41-30 in the Lower House after clearing a vote in the State Senate 23-13. The bill had previously died last year on the assembly floor.
Supporters argue that starting school later will be a boon to children’s health and well being. They argue that early school start times contribute to physical and mental issues in adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “the evidence strongly implicates earlier school start times (ie, before 8:30 am) as a key modifiable contributor to insufficient sleep, as well as circadian rhythm disruption, in this population.”
Detractors argue that the State should not force a one size fits all bill on communities across the state with varying needs and requirements. Others state that later start times will increase strain on parents schedules, who will need to balance getting their children to and from school and work.
The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for signature and approval.
The bill can viewed in its entirety on the California State Legislature Website, located here.