Brown rightly rejects school start time bill

Californian Staff

Earlier  this September Senate Bill 328 was passed by the California state senate and was expected to become law.

The bill would have required all K-12 schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Proponents of the bill, specifically the American Academy of Pediatrics, believed that it would allow teenagers to get more sleep.

Their research showed that teenagers’ natural circadian rhythm makes them tired around 11 p.m., so a mandated 8:30 a.m. start time would allow students to get the sleep they need.

But Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, stating that the proposal was too general and the decision of start times should be left to local communities.

Brown is correct in his thinking because having a mandated later start time would seriously derail programs like  Cal High’s A period, while not necessarily increasing students’ sleep.

Cal’s current schedule with A period starts at 7:30 a.m., a full hour before the proposed start time. A mandated start time would lead to the abandonment of A period, a useful necessity for those who request it.

It is also worth mentioning that without A period, Cal already starts only five minutes before the proposed 8:30 a.m. start time, so the bill would achieve nothing for the majority of the student body. 

All it would achieve is seriously inconveniencing many students who utilize A period, which would have to move to the end of the school day to remain part of the schedule.

But this would heavily impact A period students’ ability to work after-school jobs, or participate in sports and other extracurricular activities.

Another problem with the proposal is that it may not necessarily increase student sleep, which was its intent.

While it would give students more time in the morning, the main factor in students’ lack of sleep is their workload. Most students would likely use morning free time to do homework or study, not sleep.

If legislators actually want to increase the amount of sleep for students, they should consider a mandated homework policy.

The bill showed no guaranteed benefit, as a later start time would not necessarily benefit students in the way the government hoped it would.

Brown made the right decision vetoing the bill.