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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Like most school reforms, later start times aren’t well thought out

School start times
Students arrive for school at La Cañada High, which starts classes at 8:30 a.m.
(Mike Mullen / La Canada Valley Sun)

To the editor: There needs to be a great deal more consideration of what it will mean for California public schools when they shift to later start times, as required by a new law.

First, with a later starting time, students who have working parents may be left alone in the morning and have to get themselves ready for school without adult supervision. They may not have adequate guidance to make sure they get to school.

Second, many students have after-school jobs or are involved in extracurricular programs that will be affected by this mandate.

Finally, with students getting out of school later, they may be walking home in the dark. These are just a few items that need to be studied before this law takes effect.

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Edward A. Sussman, Fountain Valley

The writer is a former superintendent of the Downey Unified School District.

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To the editor: I was so heartened to read that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law phasing in later start times for public schools.

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Of course, the California School Boards Assn. and the California Teachers Assn. oppose it. I would take the opinions of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Medical Assn. and the California State Parent Teacher Assn. on this issue any day. Who can argue against these legitimate entities?

I would go further and propose a two-track schedule. For kids who participate in after-school sports or have jobs or volunteering commitments, or who just like starting their school day early, there would be the earlier start time. For kids who need the extra time in the morning, they could choose the later start time.

I am sure some teachers would appreciate a later start time too.

Paula Del, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I was a teacher and administrator for 34 years with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Anyone who has actually taught children knows that every eight or 10 years, a new idea comes around, usually not by a person on the front lines of teaching but rather a researcher.

Now, we are being told that starting later will solve a problem.

If parents would make sure their children get to bed at a reasonable time, there is no need to start later, but something needs to be done to get better results, so let’s blame the institution.

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Throwing ideas and money around is not the solution. Solid cooperation between the teacher and the parent is the only answer. Kids don’t deserve to have to wait for another innovation.

Edward Krojansky, Lake Balboa


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