New State Law Means Public Schools Will Start Later Each Day

woman alarm clock

For a lot of families, starting school later in the morning seems like a dream come true. After all, getting everyone woken up, dressed, and ready for school before the first bell seems like a day-to-day challenge, especially if there is a long or complicated commute. Well, now the state of California has proposed to start school later each day, but everyone is still not happy about it. At least, working parents aren’t.

A new state law in California will ban public middle and high schools from starting before 8:30am each day. And while the law is well-intentioned, it might actually make morning harder for families, especially if there are two parents who work full-time.

The bill, known as SB328, was narrowly passed by the state legislature ahead of a midnight deadline and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Once the bill is finalized, schools have three years to comply. One of the reasons for the push is that sleep cycles make it hard for teenagers to fall asleep before 11 p.m. — and that does not leave them enough time to get a full night’s rest before school starts the next morning.

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And while there is a long list of health benefits for kids with this later start date, many working parents are worried. That’s because they are traditionally expected to be at the office or at work by 9 am. But if your child starts school at 8:30, that might make it nearly impossible for some moms and dads to get to work on time.

boy sleeping alarm clock
Credit: iStock / AGrigorjeva


Other parents are worried that their child’s school won’t open their gates an hour earlier to help accommodate parents who need to be at the office before school starts. They are also concerned about the lack of adult supervision on campus before school even starts.

The Center for Disease Control says five out of six middle and high schools in the United States start before 8:30 a.m., while sleep deprivation for students is a common problem across the country. Sixty percent of middle schoolers and 70 percent of high schoolers do not get the recommended amount of sleep.

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