Starting school an hour later is a good idea, according to a state senator who wants high schools and middle schools to start their day no earlier than 8:30 am.

Soft SkillsAnthony J. Portantino of California’s 25 State Senate District has introduced Senate Bill 328, which requires that middle and high schools have a later start time. “In education reform, there’s arguments raging on all sides, except for this one,” Portantino said. “8:30 is the earliest a high schooler or middle schooler should start school.”

Portantino cites the American Academy of Pediatrics, and their position that teens who do not get enough sleep  “often suffer physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance.”

Other potential benefits of a later school start time include a link to higher attendance rates.  Schools are paid based on the number of students who attend each day.  Higher attendance is linked to the budget.  If attendance in Los Angeles Unified School District rose by 1 percent, the district would receive an additional $40 million annually.

The science is clear, but the reality of changing schedules of millions of parents and children is not quite so clear cut.

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