The state of California is officially leading the way to delayed school start times in the country as Gov. Gavin Newsom puts the final stamp on a state law to that effect. The new law is hoped to drive a sleuth of positive policy changes across the states of the country.
Under the new law, high schools shall not start classes before 8.30 a.m. and middle school before 8 a.m. However, educationists feel that necessary infrastructure to support the change needs to be in place as otherwise the new law could easily negate any potential positive benefits. Issues like early morning child care, sufficient hours for after school sports, opportunities for post school jobs, adjusted bus routes have to be taken care of. The social and economic consequences for all the people involved have to be smoothened out.
The delayed school start times is supposed to offer quality sleep time to teens and consequently decrease depression rates and car crash incidences. But many education groups have not been in favor of the new law due to the impracticability of ensuring the existence of the necessary infrastructureforachievement of the stipulated positive benefits.
Prior research had indicated the link between health benefits and delayed school start times. Ongoing research has only gone to strengthen the documented evidence. At the same time it has been observed that advantages have been gained by states who have introduced these policies on a voluntary basis and after consultations with all the concerned and involved people.
California’s new law has raised concerns among educationists on the ability of certain communities to adjust to the new schedules. However, advocates are hopeful that statewide implementation of the new law might help to remove some of the feared obstacles coming in the way of its success. It is more a matter of overcoming the fear of change than anything else, they feel.