Legislation For Kids: Senator Files Bill Pushing School To Start An Hour Later

By alexa ancheta, Parent Herald February 21, 12:49 pm
Senator Anthony Portantino files bill advocating for later school hours for middle and high school students.
(Photo : Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Senator Anthony Portantino filed Senate Bill 328 with the intention of pushing back the beginning of the school time one hour later. With this legislation, Portantino bowed to the scientific theory that there are scientific reasons why teens are unable to wake up early for school. This meant a regular school day for students in middle and high schools would begin an hour later than the regular schedule being followed now.

Portantino said there are many arguments on education reforms but almost everyone agrees on this legislation. The Senator cited a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics on how young people are at risk of suffering from physical and mental problems as well as academic performance decline because they lack sleep.

"Adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life," the Academy said. 

Child and Adolescent Development professor Irina Keller said there is a physiological shift in the children's biological clock when they wake up early, according to Daily News. Keller is also a Start School Later state leader. This group advocates for the pushing back of the time that school starts.

The policy was already adopted by some districts and they have noted an improvement not only in admission scores but also in attendance rates and grade-point averages, as per Los Angeles Times. Portantino introduced the bill considering that school districts have to coordinate when they schedule the students' activities, which they can't do efficiently when they have different school hours.

Portantino's bill, also known as an act to add to the Education Code's Section 46148 on pupil's attendance, requires the school governing board to make an adjustment on the length and the time of school day, according to the California Legislative Information. Once approved, classes in the middle and high schools will start at a time before 8:30 a.m.

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