California legislators believe that this combination of late bedtimes and early school hours is putting students at a disadvantage. Advocates of the bill tell the AP that regulating school start times could help with student health and student outcomes. "This is the single most cost-effective thing we can do to improve high school graduation rates," says Assemblyman Jay Obernolte.
"That delayed school start time could have a big impact on middle school children and adolescents," sleep expert Dr. Carol Ash tells CBS. "When they don't get the sleep they need, it can cause poor academic performance, drowsy driving depression, loneliness, social isolation, addictive behaviors and weight gain, obesity and hypertension. So it has a significant health and mental impact on your children."
Beyond these health benefits, Ash says that later school starts also have the potential to save schools billions of dollars. "The cost of sleep loss is astronomical. It's costing billions of dollars," she says. "Poor academic performance, absenteeism at school. And federally funded dollars are attached to the absenteeism rate. So if kids are not showing up in school, they're gonna get less dollars."
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