By: Matt Horn
September 26, 2013
By the time students are getting off of the school bus, they’re usually wide awake. But keeping high schoolers alert first thing in the morning can be a struggle.
“It’s a better learning environment if we can start just a little bit later in the day,” said Representative Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz filed House Bill 67 earlier this week. it would prohibit any Florida high school from starting earlier than 8 in the morning.
“We have to value the quality of the educational experience,” said Gaetz.
But, the bill already has already stirred concern among educators and other lawmakers.
“You may have to force elementary students to stand on the side of the road in the dark, in early morning hours waiting for the bus,” said Senator Bill Montford.
Another concern is local control. School boards want to be decide what time to start the school day, and not have mandatory requirements from lawmakers in Tallahassee.
“Florida Legislature should do as little as we can in dictating to local governments what rules and laws should be,” said Montford.
The bill also says Florida schools wouldn’t be able to start earlier than two weeks before Labor Day – something that has been in effect since the 07-08 school year. One thing lawmakers and educators agreed on – is that a later start time is good for the learning environment for high school students.
“They reach their peak performance a little bit later in the morning,” said David Worrell, educator.
But concerns may outweigh the things where everyone sees eye to eye.
If the bill makes it out of both chambers next spring and signed by the governor, it would go into effect next summer.