Newsom hits snooze on school start time

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 328 into law on Oct.13, making California the first state in the country to require later class times for middle and high school students. 

Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, the earliest start time for middle schools will be 8 a.m. while high schools can start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. SB 328 will not apply to rural or private schools. The San Francisco Unified School District didn’t take a position on the bill. Fifteen high schools in the district currently start before 8:30 a.m.

Newsom made the right call to sign SB 328, it will be a law that benefits middle school and high school students in their educational careers.vg

Supporters of the bill pointed to studies that found that moving thv e school day later was followed by increased attendance, graduation rates and improved grades. The American Association of Pediatrics said that teens naturally have difficulty falling asleep before 11 p.m. and need eight to nine hours of sleep a night. Teenagers should get eight to 10 hours of sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The California School Boards Association expressed disappointment by saying the new law fails to respect parental decisions or consider the needs of local communities. 

Most high schools start around 8 a.m. or earlier, having that extra 30 minutes or more would be beneficial for the student not only sleep wise, but getting to school on time. 

There are students who don’t have the opportunity to live around or much less be in the same city as their school. The extra time would benefit the student arriving on time to school. Some students come in 10 or 15 minutes late to class every day and sometimes it’s due to traffic or living far away. 

Some parents comment that their child doesn’t eat breakfast and it’s due to students already rushing trying to get to school. If they had that extra time, students would eat breakfast and be ready to learn. 

“Waking up early 5 days a week to go to school, I sometimes don’t have time to eat but if school started at 8:30 a.m. it would help me have time to eat,” said Albaro Sotelo, a student at College Park High School. Sotelo said it takes around an hour to get to school from his house in the morning. It would be beneficial for him if school started later so he wouldn’t have to worry about being late.

 Parents don’t want to hear complaints from teachers saying that their kid keeps falling asleep in class. Especially hearing excuse, “I didn’t have time to eat.”  

Students wouldn’t be embarrassed anymore to come to class late, having everyone in the room look at them and interrupt the professor giving a lecture. Tardiness would go down and students would avoid the walk of shame into the office and getting a tardy slip.

Florence Ezekwem, a mother of three, disagreed on the decision of high school starting at 8:30 a.m.  She said some kids need more time in school to develop their brains, so that extra time could be used in educating kids. “I don’t think it’s right that schools are being forced to change what time they start, that should be left to the school district.” 

“If experts are worried about kids not getting enough sleep, then maybe parents need to be stricter on their kids on going to bed early and make sure they don’t leave the house until eating breakfast,” said Ezekwem.

However, teachers and administrators are saying the government has no right to intervene in the school change and that decision should be left to the school district or community. 

Their argument is that by changing school times, it would make it more difficult to add extracurricular activities, renegotiate teacher contracts and give parents time in getting their children to school.