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California just pushed back school start times — you weren't dreaming. Now what?

Original post made on Nov 3, 2019

Of the dozens of education bills that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law this year, few will have a more practical impact on everyday lives than the new, later start times for California’s high schools and middle schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, November 3, 2019, 7:07 AM

Comments (38)

10 people like this
Posted by IAQ IQ
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2019 at 9:38 am

“The science has been crystal clear for decades, but it’s been politically difficult, if not impossible for most school districts to follow the science,”

As much as I agree in principle with Jerry Brown on this, in reality, school districts simply do not make changes like this on their own where there is controversy, despite all the evidence, unless they are required to.

There is, if anything, an even far greater body of evidence, especially consensus-level evidence, of the importance of schools following an evidence-based framework for indoor air quality management. Indoor air quality, per the consensus-level evidence base, affects student and staff physical and emotional well-being, their school performance and attendance, and district liability. There are easily available indoor air quality management plans made specifically for schools, to be inexpensive and get evidence-based results.

Our district, which specifically named indoor air-quality standards and specifications in the previous $378 million facilities bond (give or take a few million), refused to even consider adopting an indoor air quality management plan (not even as mentioned in the bond or the California state PTA resolution that our own board voted yes to years earlier). The reason? Cost, they claimed. Even though so much could be improved for free per these plans.

If our wealthy district responds this way, when it even has a large bond that could devote rounding-error funds to fix campuses, then what hope is there that poorer districts, which would benefit even more from healthier students and staff, and less illness-related absenteeism, will adopt such evidence-based measures?

But because there are zero state indoor air quality standards for schools, and no laws that allow parents to force school districts to do right by their students per the mainstream evidence base, things never change.

So, as much as I think local control is better, sometimes the state just has to step in and tell the schools what they have to do, because schools are pretty much the opposite of nimble and responsive even if there are problems negatively affecting students with evidence that they could be solved.

Now at least, the start time will never creep lower as times passes. Will our district simply pile more on students at the end of the day so they get to bed later? Or will they finally get with the 21st century and realize a lot of how school is set up wastes students' time, and the time could be recovered during the day by just moving away from the factory model of education.


9 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 3, 2019 at 9:54 am

What’s with that photo? That’s the only photo they could find? Looks like a mom and three 6th graders, not Paly students.


14 people like this
Posted by Random Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 3, 2019 at 10:20 am

In the past, parents have argued against individual schools moving start times later because it was not coordinated with inter-school sports activities and other after school commitments. Having a schedule shift mandated by the state should make it more likely that all after school activities have coordinated changes in their timing.


14 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 3, 2019 at 11:23 am

Just today we gained an hour of sleep. But we all know that within a week we will have pushed our bed times back and lost it again. Is there any evidence that teens won’t do the same with later start times? Mine certainly would.


14 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm

> Is there any evidence that teens won’t do the same with later start times?

Yes.

> Mine certainly would.

Thanks for sharing. A suggestion is to use the google machine to answer your query, as well as using the google machine for tips on improving communication with teens.


14 people like this
Posted by Cover up culture
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 3, 2019 at 1:43 pm

What does pushing the PAUSD start times back by a few minutes have to do with instituting video conferencing? It doesn't change the laws regarding instructional minutes requiring that students receive instruction.


25 people like this
Posted by Yawn, next
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 3, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Dear everybody
As a teacher where in Palo Alto technology is God, this will have zero effect on high school students. The two high schools already start at 8:25 and they are zombies having stayed up watching brain cell killing Tik Tok videos and Snapchat Title IX stories.Get real....


10 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm

@Yawn, next
Paly starts at 8:20, not 8:25. Moreover, a teacher who thinks all students are the same is dangerous. There are students who will benefit from this. Plus, as someone noted, Paly can no longer use the excuse of the sports impact of a later start time since schools will all start later.

Anyone know if there are guidelines on how many school days there can be? Can we just add some days to fulfill the instructional minutes?


10 people like this
Posted by Yawn, next
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 3, 2019 at 6:27 pm

@Huh,
You're right I just see the same students sleep deprived every morning absolutely GLUED to their phones to the point where they can't look up to conjure interest in the announcements what do I know? 8:20 MY BAD. My dangerous nature tells me the tech worship ground zero set works on their own clock.Your kid must be a Ludditte.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2019 at 7:40 pm

Do we still have zero period?


10 people like this
Posted by The Science Made Me Do It
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 3, 2019 at 9:14 pm

@Resident - PAUSD has no "academic" zero period, but some kids still have gym, Gunn has its TV production class, etc. Not a large number. I never understood why it made a difference whether it was an "academic" class or not - I thought sleep was the issue. But that's Palo Alto for you.

@Huh? and others - the jury's still out on the "science" of this one, despite what the proponents say over and over. You can reach the legislative analysis here: Web Link#. A mixed bag, that among other things suggests that start times after 8am might not matter, and that sleep increase per *hour* later start might be 20 minutes or less, which may or may not move the needle on wellness. Also, not enough multi-year to see if sleep cycles simply adjust to later times (i.e., kids stay up later). A state-wide mandated universal change that will cost time and money, with no meaningful pilot, no long-term research, etc.

Sadly, this is yet another educational feel-good measure where happy talk plus a bit of research creates a big push, while distracting from the nitty gritty work that might actually make a difference for students. It makes adults feel good about themselves, while the students do about the same. Thanks Marc Berman and colleagues!


13 people like this
Posted by Member1
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2019 at 9:50 pm

Member1 is a registered user.

Get rid of wasted tutorials advisories abd life skills. Still start late just would rather see free time or actual instruction rather than these time wasters. Kids sit at tutorial and play on phones. Advisory is often cancelled. Life skills should be put in p e to free up real elective of interest.


20 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2019 at 6:49 am

Rather than abandoning Life Skills or including it in PE (I think PE should remain as physical exercise which so many of our teens desperately need) we should be including in the curriculum real life skills like how to present themselves for a job, how to balance their bank account, how to file taxes, how to apply for a loan or rent an apartment. So many teens go away to college without basic knowledge of how to function as adults and although much of this should be taught at home, the reality is that many parents protect their kids or do everything for them so they can't even clean the toilet or use a bus or train to get somewhere.


20 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2019 at 11:39 am

Did any of the researchers ever have children? I doubt that starting classes later will have any effect on the length of sleep of middle or high schoolers. They will just stay up later.

/marc


12 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 4, 2019 at 2:12 pm

> I doubt that starting classes later will have any effect on the length of sleep of middle or high schoolers.

Not the way it's worked out in the studied tests. Less truancy, less discipline issues, less tardiness.

Think teenage melatonin cycles, folks. It's that simple.

Seriously, do y'all even know how to do a search? Here's the sleep foundation:

"That's why many doctors and school administrators have advocated for later high school start times. A teen who rises for school at 6:30 a.m. is fighting against a biological force of sleepiness, and later might find it hard to doze off with sufficient time to get the roughly nine hours of sleep that adolescents require.

When schools shift their schedules, teens benefit. For example, seven high schools in Minneapolis moved their start times from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and tested the outcomes for their students. As a result of the change, the teens got five or more extra hours of sleep per week, and attendance and enrollment rates went up, as did alertness. Meanwhile, student-reported depression went down. This proves true for middle schoolers as well. In a study of 7th and 8th graders, those who went to a school that started at 8:37 a.m. reported sleeping an hour more on school nights. The ones who started at 7:15 a.m. were tardy four times as often and had significantly worse grades, both in the fall (when the start time changed) and again in the spring when they were re-tested."


7 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm

I still believe the early bird gets the worm.


4 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2019 at 7:03 am

@Science friendly

Buried in the study is a reoccurring "...teenagers to help get the 9.25 hours of sleep..." I doubt that shifting the start time will result them getting any more sleep.

They will get start school later, get out later, finish activities later, finish homework later, go to bed later. Still the same amount of sleep.

/marc


16 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 8:25 am

> I doubt that shifting the start time will result them getting any more sleep.

Thanks for your opinion. May I suggest you look at studies that show that a shift in starting time has demonstrable benefits: less truancy, less discipline issues, less tardiness, etc.

"my opinion" vs studied fact. What an age we live in!

@musical: I also believe in the early bird. Note we're talking about educating teenagers here, not worm hunting.


3 people like this
Posted by member 1
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 8:29 am

They will just stay up later knowing later start time. Teens can not really be manipulated.maybe they manipulated this entire study so they could sleep in and stay up. Teens are clever. Maybe teachers manipulated study so we would have to have them in our homes longer. Hmmm.

Good to see the zero periods taken away, but the kids taking them generally were the ones wanting to take extra electives that really mattered to them. They need to allow for more than 40 units past the semester limit if they are in electives, Art, music Theater because these are classes that save children and give them 4 years of one group to become part of a community and socialize with safely while looking at the world. Expectations at colleges remain high and kids can not fit it all in. Bunching some out of date classes together to meet grad requirements would be great. PE is not required for any college. Life skills is not either. Computer Sci will be and extra one. maybe put them all in one year? Shame to see a kid not be able to be in a Theater class because of life skills or even PE if that is not their interest.


13 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 8:57 am

> maybe they manipulated this entire study

*this* entire study???? Do folks even google the *basics* before they post here?!? Chicago, Minnesota, etc., studies from state after state!

But the posters here "think" so they're smarter than, for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics.

No wonder Trump won.


4 people like this
Posted by Bean
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2019 at 11:18 am

10 minutes for Palo Alto schools won't make a large difference. But the hour+ for other areas will change things, and I suspect for the better.

Even if we take out the idea of sleep, you're going to have students getting to school in daylight hours, which means fewer accidents on the road. Coming back to sleep, though, are schools going to have things continue on later in the day with this change? Probably not. Choir practice isn't going to start at 7:00pm instead of 6:00pm; Friday night football games won't be moved to 8:00pm instead of 7:00pm. Certainly, driving laws aren't changing--new drivers are still going to have to be off the road by 11:00pm--so teenagers will mostly still be arriving home at the same times, and unless the homework load dramatically changes, they're going to be going to bed at the same time now. I think this will make a difference to the students in these smaller communities, and I am happy for them.

This won't change things for Palo Alto, but not every state law needs to change things for every community.

Also, I hope @Yawn, next has good luck finding a new profession, since they are clearly burned out on teaching. Thank goodness I didn't have a teacher in high school that treated me like a braindead zombie, and thankfully most PAUSD teachers aren't that way.


1 person likes this
Posted by Historian
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm

@Bean
As far as homework loads, the BoE has told teachers to cut down on homework to destress, thus, tests are now worth 70-100% of their grades. This is more stressful for students who aren't good at tests. It also favors the naturally academically smart students and gives no credit to a strong work ethic. How can one succeed at this school if they are not as smart as others who were born with a talent for testing? This is completely unfair.


3 people like this
Posted by membera
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 1:57 pm

science friendly.

It was a joke. Of course teens can not manipulate adults or studies. They never lie or try to sleep in or stay up late. They are all perfect angels victimized by schools making them do homework and sit in class. Funny to see people say others love Trump if they disagree with them. maybe you need a nap.


8 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 2:52 pm

> They are all perfect angels victimized by schools making them do homework and sit in class.

Ahh, a master at deflection. And you are so much smarter than the American Academy of Pediatrics, numerous universities, the science of melatonin cycles, etc..

Your beliefs are better than established fact! (yet you insist it's not trumpian!)


3 people like this
Posted by Bean
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2019 at 3:06 pm

@Historian

Please tell, the perfect schooling system that doesn't give an unfair advantage to one certain subset of students or another. I'm fairly certain it doesn't exist. Minimizing test taking and adding homework will just swing the pendulum a different direction. The advantage with weighing test taking over homework is that the students can study at their own pace--not being forced to stick to the pace set by an instructor.

Besides, you didn't read what I said. I said that *unless* homework load changes, teenagers will be getting the same amount of sleep. Has the BoE instructed schools to add more homework or change teaching practices to make up for a later start time? I do not believe so.


8 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 5, 2019 at 3:43 pm

> teenagers will be getting the same amount of sleep.

Yeah, except, no. That's demonstrably false. Again: posters are too lazy to look up the facts. They're into their 'feelings' instead of reality.

" I doubt " versus studied and reviewed FACTS.


3 people like this
Posted by The Science Made Me Do It
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 5, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Science friendly, education research is right up there with diet research in terms of reliability. And if you look at the legislative analysis, you quickly see that the research so far is indeterminate. You can keep saying 'but the doctors said it was true' but that doesn't change the fact that this is feel good policy, with minimal likely impact. But yes, it will disrupt other efforts since every school has to comply.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2019 at 4:03 pm

As a parent who has had real teens, I know from experience that telling a teen to go to bed and expecting them to sleep is another issue. Rather like putting a toddler to bed and expected them to sleep. With a toddler it is being afraid of the dark, a shadow, or needing a drink of water or the bathroom. With a teen it is many excuses for them to get back out of bed, pay a visit to the kitchen, the family room, read a book, check their backpack, oh and of course their phone. Don't take away the phone though because it is their alarm clock too, their fashion guru, their reminder list and their motivation to get out of bed also. Science - no neither group read the textbooks and the research is done on research dummies, not real subjects in real situations.


1 person likes this
Posted by Bean
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2019 at 4:17 pm

@Science friendly

Please provide your sources if you're going to use "science" as your argument. I see you make references to science multiple times, but then tell other people to search, you're providing no further sources either.


38 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 4:44 pm

> Science - no neither group read the textbooks and the research is done on research dummies, not real subjects in real situations.

All the studies involve school districts. "Dummies" is a term kept for internet posters who can't be bothered to google.

> Please provide your sources if you're going to use "science"

It's the melatonin cycle for teens, and how it differs from adults. Web Link

As far as districts and studies, just take the top ten list of your google search, as opposed to the posters above who haven't bothered - they "feel" extra sleep won't make a difference. And their "feelings" are more important than reading something for 5 minutes.

Here's a smattering, but I'm not going to c&p a list you can find in a ten second search. Highlight any sentnce and search for the entire study or article.




RAND study:

Key Findings
The study suggested that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy.

The study suggested that the benefits of later start times far out-weigh the immediate costs. Even after just two years, the study projects an economic gain of $8.6 billion to the U.S. economy, which would already outweigh the costs per student from delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m.

After a decade, the study showed that delaying schools start times would contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy, with this increasing to $140 billion after 15 years. During the 15 year period examined by the study, the average annual gain to the U.S. economy would about $9.3 billion each year.

Throughout the study's cost-benefit projections, a conservative approach was undertaken which did not include other effects from insufficient sleep, such as higher suicide rates, increased obesity and mental health issues — all of which are difficult to quantify precisely. Therefore, it is likely that the reported economic benefits from delaying school start times could be even higher across many U.S. states.




Science Daily:

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find
Date:
December 12, 2018
Source: University of Washington
Summary:
In 2016, Seattle Public Schools pushed back start times for its 18 high schools by 55 minutes. Researchers have now announced that, as a result, teens at two Seattle high schools got more sleep on school nights -- a median increase of 34 minutes of sleep each night -- and showed improved attendance and grades.




1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Crash test dummies, for science related crash tests. No googling necessary.


27 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 5, 2019 at 6:09 pm

I'm familiar with the concept (and the band, but that goes back, doesn't it?)

So you're sticking with your anecdotal experience from some time back, as opposed to study after study of real-world examples?

Okay.

"... Seattle high schools got more sleep on school nights -- a median increase of 34 minutes of sleep each night -- and showed improved attendance and grades."

Funny thing is, there are lots of reasons NOT to implement this. "My kids stay on their phone" isn't one of them.


Like this comment
Posted by Crash Test Dummy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Well, what do you know? Peeps Google a couple of studies, read the summary section, and realize the best thing to do is to make later starting times.

Methinks they're over-thinking this.


13 people like this
Posted by Make kids great again
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 6, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Later start times - a wise, smart, studied choice. [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 6, 2019 at 10:46 pm

Later to bed and later to rise, makes a student healthy, wealthy and wise.
(deepest apologies to Poor Richard)


7 people like this
Posted by Baloney
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 7, 2019 at 7:08 am

When I was a kid I got up at 4:30 every morning to do my paper route. Peddling my bike around the dark town streets. I’m 61 now and I did just fine .

Kids need structure, supportive parents, work ethic, and a positive environment to thrive. Kids need to put down all the tech junk. When I was a kid, we got one hour of TV a week. Kids today are glued to phones and video crap - turning their brains to mush.

As for “Google Machine” Science friendly... you need to get some common sense. Reading crap on the internet doesn’t make you smart or wise. It all has/needs/requires context. Stop using the internet and get some practical experience with real kids.


9 people like this
Posted by Science friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 7, 2019 at 10:19 am

> Reading crap on the internet doesn’t make you smart or wise.

Couldn't agree more. In fact, your "back in the day I walked to school uphill - both ways" comment qualifies as such. Thanks.

I avoid 'crap' and instead, my references were to real world studies and facts, as opposed to your fantasy, anecdotal nostalgia trip.

> get some practical experience with real kids.

We raised ours, hands on. Spent much of the last 25 years highly involved with middle schoolers. But thanks for the recommendation - I'll push for thirty years, just for you!


1 person likes this
Posted by radar
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2019 at 11:18 am

Next up from the Sacramento parasites (our elected officials), mandatory bed times by grade. Also, when little Oscar graduates, mandate starting times for businesses.


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