Starting this year, La Cañada High School (LCHS) began class 30 minutes later than other schools within its area: at 8:30 a.m. This change in schedule has been implemented by Senator Anthony Portantino, a Democrat in La Cañada Flintridge.
Portantino pushed to pass Senate Bill 328, which would enforce all California public high schools and middle schools to start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. He argued for the scientific benefits of beginning school later, which included reduction of student automobile accidents, obesity, depression, poor school performance, and cardiovascular problems.
“The AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) recommends that teenagers should sleep eight to ten hours a night. But according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), almost 70% of high-school students report sleeping seven hours or less on a regular basis,” Amanda MacMillan of Times Magazine said.
Despite this meaning that school ends at 3:14 p.m. rather than 3 p.m., many students within LCHS favored beginning school later and noticed a boost in their energy and attitude following the schedule change.
However, on Sept. 14, California State Legislature disregarded the possible positive effects of beginning school later and rejected Senate Bill 328, a decision supported by the California School Board Association.
California School Board Association argued that the bill would result in hardship for working families who do not have flexible work schedules and thus an increase in demand for supervision before school. They also argued that creating a “one size fits all” school time for all 3,000 secondary schools within the state is unreasonable, and pushed for local school boards to rule bell time.
“I’m surprised (with the vote in the Assembly) given the science behind this is peer-reviewed and solid,” Portantino said in San Francisco Chronicle.
However, Portantino announced that he plans to revisit this bill in January of 2018, stating that it would benefit the students’ mentality and academic attitudes.
If passed, the law would be implemented in July of 2020.