School Start Times Set to Change in California


Evolution Labs

Young woman pressing snooze button on early morning digital alarm clock radio.

The start time of school has always been a hot debate among parents, students, and teachers. As more research has progressed on the development of brains and how much sleep is necessary, psychologists have determined that teens need to have at least 8 ½ hours of sleep per night.

However, school start times in the United States often aren’t accommodating to this standard. According to Psychology Today, school start times being as early as they are have proven to cause academic and behavioral problems which can affect students long term with the effects displaying themselves up to three years later.

Another issue with school start times being so early is that students are not getting enough sleep due to the fact that teenagers tend to have more difficulty falling asleep in comparison to children and adults. This is due to developmental changes in sleep biology, likely from puberty.

“I believe that by letting us go into school later, our performance is going to improve because we won’t be as tired in the mornings.” Junior Jimena Ortiz said. The time that school begins also affects her life quite personally. “I’m always late to class because we have to drop my brother off in the mornings at a different time and I never have enough time to make it to school.”

Despite having this research, there are still individuals that oppose the proposition of schools starting later. School starting later would greatly discourage students from joining extracurricular activities such as sports because it would likely run late into the night which in turn would affect students motivation to complete school work.

This could also affect high school students who work to support their families. There is a law in California that prevents minors from working past 10pm or working more than 4 hours a day. If school started later then it would run later in the day to make up for the lost time and it would be difficult for those working students to get the hours they need for work.

In 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a mandate that proclaimed that all middle schools start no earlier than 8 a.m and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. This law was made in association with the health benefits this would have on teenagers. Since California is such an influential state, it is predicted that if all goes well other states will also begin adopting similar laws.