AAST, along with our partners at School Start Later, Inc., are excited to share that the California Legislature has just passed SB328, a bill co-sponsored by Start School Later and the California State PTA limiting how early the state’s middle and high schools can require attendance.
Enormous thanks to those who signed the expert consensus letter, which we believe played a critical role in the legislature’s decision and that should be equally valuable at this point in the process, as well as for policy makers around the country grappling with the start time issue. With this said, there is still work to be done!
Our next task is to make sure this still highly controversial bill is signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. You may recall that a similar bill passed last year, but was vetoed by Governor Brown.
While the consensus letter should be helpful, the Governor also needs to hear from individuals. You can make a huge difference by sending a brief letter to Governor Newsom urging his support. By all means, let the Governor know if you’re from California, but it’s equally important to tell him that sleep, health, safety, social justice, and child welfare experts and advocates from around the nation recognize the significance of this landmark legislation.
Please address letters to Governor Gavin Newsom and email as follows:
Letters from organizations or institutions:
Send to : Jennifer.Johnson@gov.ca.gov
cc: Leg.firstname.lastname@example.org; Tara.McGee@sen.ca.gov
Letters from individuals:
Send to: Jennifer.Johnson@gov.ca.gov
SAMPLE LETTER TO SEND
Governor Gavin Newsom
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: SB 328 (Portantino), Healthy School Start Times
Dear Governor Newsom:
Please protect the health and safety of California children and sign SB 328 (Portantino), the healthy school start times bill, into law.
The scientific research and public health consensus is overwhelming: SB 328 is the essential public policy countermeasure to combat the epidemic of adolescent sleep loss. Indeed, this public health epidemic has been primarily caused by public policy: because brain changes that occur during puberty cause most teenagers to naturally stay awake until about 11:00 p.m., early school school start times prevent most teenagers from getting the quantity and quality of sleep they need to be healthy, safe, and ready to learn.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and many other medical and health organizations advise school start times of 8:30 a.m. or later; however, almost 80% of California's public secondary schools start too early. Because of the status quo, millions of California children needlessly suffer higher rates of physical and mental illness, suicide, and car crashes, along with lower academic performance.