Recent articles about students failing tests and letters exploring reasons for our students' failures have missed a crucial root cause: Most students do not get sufficient sleep. Matthew Walker, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, has written a book, "Why We Sleep." His many scientific studies reveal the severe consequences of sleep deprivation.
Sleep promotes memory. The teenage brain is still maturing and sleep is vital to this process. Europe is ahead of the U.S. in offering later school start times, and some districts here are catching on and responding to the evidence. We should be willing to weigh the benefits to our kids and conclude they far outweigh the inconvenience and solvable scheduling problems. Maybe a city-wide boycott of schools' first hour is an option! I'm willing to drive my grandkid and neighbor's kids later.
— Jane Dyson
The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.