High School Parent Engagement Group is a grass roots, independent, non-partisan, all volunteer organization of parents and guardians of San Juan Unified School District high school students and recent graduates.
Dear Healthy School Start time Supporters.
As you have probably have heard by now, SB 328 fell short of the required 41 votes to pass the California Assembly this year, but the bill has become a two-year bill and will be considered again next year.
Despite this temporary setback, we have accomplished a lot, we have learned a lot, and we will keep advocating for the best interests of our state's children. What choice do we have? Continue to accept public policy that forces millions of California children to do something that is known to harm their health and safety? We are better than that; our state is better than that; and our children deserve better than that.
Although many of us hoped that the moral imperative to protect children -- combined with undisputed evidence that early start times cause higher rates of physical and mental illness, injury, and even death among adolescent children -- would be enough to compel the legislature to act, the narrow interests of the adults who have a stake in the status quo are powerful.
However, I have been inspired by many state legislators who are dong the right thing, and I think you will be too. If you have about half and hour, I encourage you to view the link below for the entire floor debate. If you have only a few minutes, I would encourage you to watch the videos of Obernolte, Weber, Gloria, and Arambula. And of course we continue to be inspired by Senator Portantino's leadership.
Here is the link:
Many of us who live in Assembly Member Ken Cooley's district were disappointed that he spoke in opposition to the bill. We hope that he will grant one of our numerous requests to meet with him so that he may better understand that he can protect the public health and safety of the adolescent children in his district without hurting livestock.
I know you have ideas as to how we should proceed, and I look forward to hearing them. This is a grass roots effort backed by science, evidence, results, and the world's leading public health and medical institutions. But it is all of your dedication, intelligence, and hard work that will make the difference.
High School Parent Engagement Group
Our current focus is Healthy School Start Times, an initiative that we have spent more than 6 years researching and advocating. This spring, California State Senator Anthony Portantino introduced Senate Bill 328, requiring middle and high schools to begin no later than 8:30 am, as recommended by multiple professional health entities.
Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) presented SB 328 to the Assembly Education Committee. The Bill requires middle schools and high schools to start the school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m. SB 328 is based on recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics for the optimal time to start school for improved public health of teenage students. After passing the State Senate earlier in the year, the bill built upon this momentum passing the Assembly Education Committee with bi-partisan support.
“This makes a big statement to children, parents, and the education community that more and more legislators are using sound and definitive research to put the best interests of our students first. School districts around the country that have moved teenage school start times later have seen measurable, positive results for student achievement and student public health. I am very grateful to the Assembly Education Committee for making its decision on this indisputable data,” expressed Portantino.
“On behalf of California’s students, we appreciate the committee’s support of this critical bill, which prioritizes student well-being by ensuring healthy start times, said Lisa Lewis, co-chair, Start School Later California, which co-sponsored the bill. Dr. Irena Keller, who also co-chairs the organization, added: “These start times are backed by decades of research and will benefit our students, our communities, and our state.” The California State PTA Legislative Advocate, Carol Kocivar, explained, “The research is clear: Later school start times improve the health, safety, and academic success of students.”
“Too many of our schools have started at times we know to be detrimental to our kids’ health,” said Joy Wake, coordinator of the High School Parent Engagement Group in the San Juan Unified School District. “We are grateful for the progress on SB 328, which recognizes that school start times are a statewide public health issue.”
SB 328 is supported by The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, California Federation of Teachers, California Sleep Society, California State PTA, Children’s Hospital Boston, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, East Area Progressive Democrats, Educate. Advocate, Fresno Unified School District, High School Parent Engagement Group, Keck Hospital of USC, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Loyola University Maryland, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Pasadena Unified School District, Stanford University School of Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Stony Brook Medicine Program of Public Health, South Pasadena Unified School District, University of Washington – Department of Biology, and numerous individuals.
The following organizations and individuals supported this bill:
To learn more about this bill, read the SB 328 School Start Time Research and Information
The High School Parent Engagement Group (PEG) is an informal and supportive network for parents from all of San Juan Unified School District's high schools to share questions, ideas, and concerns regarding our schools in order to improve the overall student and parent experience. We believe that every SJUSD student deserves a high quality education and that actively engaged parents are an integral part of a high quality education system. The mission of our group aligns with the mission of the SJUSD Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). We meet once a month in an informal setting during the school year. Please join us by filling out the contact form.