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California Bill SB-328 to Limit Early School Start Times Heads to Governor Brown

September 4, 2018

[UPDATE 9/20/18] Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB-328 saying, ““This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards. Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”

SACRAMENTO, CA–We’ve written several times about the importance of sleep for student wellness and safety, and the development of the adolescent brain and how that impacts behavior through high school and beyond. A consistent theme has been the importance of placing guard rails on school start times. California has led the nation on many issues and for school start times is one signature (Governor Brown’s) from leading on school start times.

California Bill SB-328 is the latest attempt by the California legislature to place limits on school start times, requiring the “schoolday for middle schools and high schools, including those operated as charter schools, to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.” To get the bill passed by both the Assembly and the Senate several changes were made – school districts will have until July 1, 2021 to implement the change (one year later than originally proposed, with additional language around collective bargaining agreements) and rural school districts are exempted completely (no waiver required).

In a recent Rand Corporation study, “Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep“, researchers noted that “at a national level, up to 3 per cent of GDP is lost due to lack of sleep, and an increase in sleep could add billions of dollars to a country’s economy”, and specifically called for public authorities to “introduce later school starting times”.

And sleep researcher Dr. Irena Keller noted: “Even though this bill will surely inconvenience some adults and will create problems for many schools, all of these can be solved within 3 years of implementation period and no amount of work on the part of adults can compare with the benefits for our children’s physical and mental health as well as safety. The science is unequivocal on this: waking up too early and out of synch with adolescents’ biological clock is harmful. If our schools are harmful it is a public health issue, not a question to be voted at a board meeting based on how many adults will be inconvenienced by a change. I think this bill is also important as a message to the public because it raises awareness about the importance of sleep and the damaging effects of sleep deprivation.”

SB-328 is one of multiple bills awaiting Governor Brown’s signature in order to take the final step to becoming State of California law.

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2 Comments
  1. Joe permalink
    September 5, 2018 12:14 am

    If these government types were truly concerned, they might advise parents to curtail electronics use in the evening and in the bedroom. The EM transmissions are known to increase brain activity, thereby affecting sleep patterns.
    Then there’s the subject of cell towers. No, government won’t be reducing those in number or proximity to homes.

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