Rise and shine at 8:30?


Ms. James Pre-Calculus class at 8:30 am Photo by Cristopher Marin

Cristopher Marin, Staff Reporter

At the end of August there was a bill passed by the California Legislature that would have allowed schools to start at 8:30 a.m. There has been a large debate on if schools should begin during this time and the decision was dependent on if the Senate Bill 328 was signed by California’s Governor Jerry Brown. The bill was passed and the only thing left was for the executive branch to approve of the bill. Unfortunately, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. Governor Brown in his statement after the veto said, “This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards.” He believed that these situations should be handled by the local community. Associations opposing the bill believed their schools should be the ones who decide what time school should start based on the community.

California Legislature wanted to pass this bill so that students can gain an additional amount of sleep. With this amount of sleep students can be well rested and perform their best in their classes. Pediatric studies have shown that students perform better later in the day than in the morning. One high school in Tracy, John C. Kimball High School, starts at 8:15 am. “I think school starting at 8:30 would help a lot of students out who play sports and stay up late doing homework by giving them more time to sleep,” said Kimball High Junior Joe Gomez. With that said should school start at 8:30 and if so how would we face the benefits and new problems that arise?

Some benefits if school started at 8:30 a.m. are that students would be able to have extra time of sleep. Many students would agree with getting this additional time of sleep because of how tired they are when they wake up. “It’ll allow students to sleep more and will allow them to learn while actually being prepared,” said West High junior Melany Alas whose school starts at 7:50 am. Although students would be getting extra time in the morning, new problems would also emerge. If school started at 8:30 it would affect parents’ schedule, work schedule, after school activities and social events. Who would take the students to school? Parent work schedules would have to change to accommodate with the school’s schedule. “If school started at 8:30 right now, my mom would have to drop me off much earlier, as she starts work at 8:00,” said Tracy High junior Marina Parker whose school begins at 8:00 am. In addition, this time change will give student less time to do homework especially athletes that have practice right after school in which their schedule would be pushed back, “While I would love the extra time to sleep, I would rather have the time to do my homework after school,” Marina added. This will essentially make kids stay up longer than they usually do trying to finish their homework and other events.

What also contributes to the school start time is the bus schedule. West High’s school start time is based on the bus schedule which is why class starts at 7:50. It would be very difficult to create a bus schedule that would be beneficial for all schools including West, Tracy and Kimball. With this information our school district and community could decide if starting school at 8:30 would be a good idea. Are the decisions of school boards and politics more important than the welfare of the students?