Wednesday, October 6, 1999
urges BOE to cut back on homework load
To the Fayette County Board of Education:
I am writing you to inform you and ask you to consider changing the homework polices of our schools. From research and personal experience, I have found that homework does more harm to school studies than good. Most students have busy, after-school schedules that compete with homework: part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, church activities and family responsibilities.
In an article in NEA Today, Etta Kralovec, the director of education at the College of Atlantic, surveyed high school dropouts in the early 1990s (NEA 21). Kralovec's results were that [A]ll respondents cited their inability to keep up with homework assignments as a key in their decision to drop out (NEA 21).
Some teachers have given up giving homework to their students because even when they do complete the assignment, it is poorly done. In another article, found in The Salt Lake Tribune, McCullough writes Research indicates that teachers often underestimate how long it will take for students to finish homework (McCullough 23 Aug 1996).
Not all students work at the same pace and can finish homework without any confusion. As a result, they spend hours working on something the teacher thinks should only take 20 minutes. The average teacher believes it is all right to give 30 minutes of homework a night.
With middle and high school students having six to seven classes a day, 30 minutes of homework leaves them with two to three hours of homework a night.
Again McCullough notes, Judy Bowker of Salem, Ore., contended that too much of her children's homework, starting in grade school, has been busy work (McCullough 23 Aug 1996).
While some homework does help, like doing math problems for practice or reading something that was not finished in class, in today's schools, teachers give abundant amount of busy work that leaves students confused. Teachers should concentrate on the time they have with the students, rather than forcing the students to teach themselves at home.
R. Banks Jr.