By all means let’s follow the science, shall we?
Let’s take Senate Bill 328, California’s “Bright-Eyed & Bushy-Tailed Teens Law.”
It is the law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed that mandated all California public schools are to start middle school no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. by July 1, 2022.
The law is based on sleep deprivation research that some experts said concluded many teens have biological clocks that make it hard for them to fall asleep at night and tough to get up in the morning.
Hence the conclusion by progressives — read that those who want to control minutiae details of our lives by government edict such as how much soda we can partake in — that if Sacramento mandates later start times academic performance will soar.
Given the Brooklyn Bridge has been sold numerous times, how would you like to own the Golden Gate Bridge for $9.99? Bitcoin is gladly accepted.
It might interest you to know the most trusted source of medical and health data in the country — the Centers for Disease Control — has gone on record as saying early school start times is just one of several factors that contribute to adolescent school start times.
The others? Caffeinated drinks, using electronic devices when they have gone to bed, social life, procrastination with homework, the need for some to work, and the fact teens are allowed to be night owls.
The professionals entrusted to educate California’s 6.2 million public school students were overwhelmingly against the legislative edict embraced by Newsom. Organizations representing classroom teachers, administrators, and school boards opposed the move.
You know them. They’re the “experts” we entrust to educate our kids.
But their input doesn’t matter. Sacramento knows it all. And when there is research they can cherry-pick to force the rest of California to comply with so they can pursue their life-long dream of saving us from ourselves, they can’t wait to force their will.
Yes, the California Legislature exists in a large part to adopt laws to govern society. But there is a difference between laws designed to protect the public’s health and safety as opposed to micromanaging.
The law has a wide range of impacts that in the end can further undermine academic performance.
*In many households older children due to parental work schedules and long commutes are responsible for getting younger siblings up and off to school. The law effectively pushes elementary start times even earlier. That means no change or even less sleep for teen caregivers.
*The new law is easily undermined by electronic device use, Red Bull, Diet Pepsi, Call of Duty, and Netflix.
*It squeezes everything from after school activities including sports, family time, and work windows for teens who need to help support their households.
Then there is the issue that we’re talking about humans and not i-Phones. Besides teens being unique individuals shaped by environments beyond school campuses, they are also not physiological carbon copies of each other.
No worries. Sacramento decrees it will work, so it will work. It’s the same delusional thinking that is forcing the continued pursuit of high speed rail come hell or high water. But in the case of California, it’s come wildfires or prolonged drought.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the legislature’s mandate is how they forgot to incorporate other scientific research addressing biological clock issues associated with anther government controlled function such as Daylight Savings Time.
When DST rolls around in March it will effectively undermine the ill that Senate Bill 328 sought to cure — messing with teens’ biological clocks.
Given there was no language in the bill mandating school districts ignore DST by pushing back the start of middle school and high school another hour each spring, are we to assume learning will take a severe hit?
It’s kind of ironic if you think about it.
Californians in 2018 overwhelmingly passed Proposition 7. The measure favored moving the state to DST year round. Yet here we are in 2021 still switching back and forth.
In order to go forward state lawmakers would need to pass legislation asking Congress to allow California to switch given the federal Uniform Time Act doesn’t allow year-round DST.
Meanwhile experts — read that scientists — have testified in Sacramento that it would be far better for people’s health as dictated by their biological clocks to stick with standard time year round instead of DST all the time.
Such a move doesn’t require an act of Congress as it is allowed under the federal Uniform Tax Act. All it requires is for the same people who passed legislation mandating later start times for high schools is adopt an edict making year round standard time the law in California.
So if medical professionals and scientists are telling lawmakers that is the way to go and the people of California are clearly against switching the time back and forth each year, why hasn’t it happened?
After all, they are certainly not following the science.
Lawmakers — while not disputing the science — are factoring in the human factor.
Some lawmakers believe DST is better for our well-being based on their personal experiences and biases. The flip is true for legislators in favor of remaining on standard time year round.
Setting aside full-DST versus 365 days of standard time, it is clear based on issues around the twice a year time switch that it isn’t good times collectively on people’s bodies including high school students.
So why are we still springing forward and falling back?
The answer is simple. The California legislature and constitutional leaders in Sacramento love to say they’re just following the science whether it is decreeing the early release of felons, allowing homeless encampments to drop deep roots and swell during the pandemic, or trying to curb the sales of Big Gulps when they encounter public push back.
But when it comes to personal issues such as time change impacting their personal tee times they are always open to a second opinion.
This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org