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The Sacramento Bee: What Is The Best Time For CA Students To Start Classes? The Answer Is Complicated

Date: October 11, 2019
By: Dan Schnur
Source: The Sacramento Bee

“It’s time for us to bring school start times in line with science and public health needs”
Ling Ling Chang - California State Senator (R-Diamond Bar)

My top priority is ensuring that our students are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Students have shared with me that they are taking on tougher classes and more activities in order to improve their chances for college admissions and many of the students I spoke with are often tired and overwhelmed. Their stories resonated with me. And the science is clear: sleep deprivation impacts brain development, can contribute to depression, trouble concentrating, and drowsy-driving accidents.

Unfortunately, students are getting less sleep and the CDC warns early secondary school start times are the primary cause of the adolescent sleep deprivation epidemic, affecting 2/3 of our nation’s teenagers. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also sounded the alarm on this.

Earlier this year, the California Legislature passed bipartisan legislation to support later school start times. After careful review of the science and community input, I supported the proposal when it came before me in the Senate. The measure would require the school day for middle and high school students to begin respectively no later than 8AM and 8:30AM.

Most teens have a biological tendency for late bedtimes, so getting to bed early is not a simple answer. Students deserve to show up for school healthy and ready. It’s time for us to bring school start times in line with science and public health needs.

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