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The California State Assembly is now considering legislation that would postpone the start of public middle and high schools until 8:30 a.m. each day, after a large majority of the California State Senate passed the bill earlier this year.
California Senate Bill 328 passed out of the Senate by a majority vote of 25 to 13. The legislation, titled “Pupil attendance: school start time,” provides that the “public school day for middle schools and high schools shall begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m. no later than July 1, 2020.” The most recent version of the bill does provide a two-year waiver for rural districts, but all state public schools would be calendared to start at 8:30 a.m. by 2022.
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When the primary and secondary education system started in the 1800s, California public school districts were free to set school calendars and hours. City schools tended to go year-round, and rural schools were open for the equivalent of five months, with winter and summer sessions that allowed farm children to help with planting and harvesting crops.
Union concerns about the ill effects of too much schooling on students’ and teachers’ health led to eliminating summer terms and setting a standardized statewide 180-day school year...
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