California School Start Times Pushed Back In 2022: Bad Idea?

In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 328, imposing a later start time for high schools across California. At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, schools will be expected to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

This new bill came into effect after studies revealed that extra sleep in adolescent students could benefit academic success, as well as physical wellness. Who wouldn’t want some additional time to sleep in?

It seems like a match made in heaven to get some added sleep; however, this new law may be a bad idea in the making. 

Sure, this could have been revolutionary and a relief to many exhausted by the education system three years ago, but we must consider the past two years we have gone through. The Covid-19 pandemic took over our lives, causing schools to shut down, switching from in-person to online, and overall making many unmotivated and exhausted. Feelings of uncertainty, instability and overwhelming circumstances have filled our lives, and this change may contribute to these feelings. The last thing students and administrators need is another routine change.

Students will not only start school later but will be expected to leave later. Students will end the school day around four in the afternoon, affecting their commitments to sports, work, and other extracurricular activities. Practices will start later, allotting students less time to do their homework and enjoy free time. The concept of beginning school later seems ideal, but knowing that students will stay up later to complete assignments contradicts the whole reason for this bill. Students will stay up later than they already do.

Later release times affect administrators in the same way. Teachers will come home to their families later, creating less time for families to bond and cherish each other’s company. Those involved in coaching sports must extend their commitments throughout the evening, cutting the time that they get to unwind and relax. The last thing they need right now is a damper in their schedule, and having less time to spend time with their loved ones every day is an unnecessary sacrifice for an extra hour of sleep in the morning.

While this mandate would have seemed like a dream come true a couple of years ago, it is imperative to recognize the flaws that come with such a significant change in everyone’s lives. Teachers and students do not need another factor of stress in their lives.