A fourth-grade student works on homework in the elementary school at the John F. Kennedy Schule dual-language public school on September 18, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Like death and taxes, homework has long been a standard feature of life, for public education students, anyway.
Homework’s unlikely to go away any time soon, but the ongoing debate about the proper amount and the impact it should have a student’s grade is heating up in L.A. Unified schools and beyond.
Last summer, the Los Angeles Unified School District implemented a new policy allowing homework to count for only 10 percent of a student’s grade. But that policy was quickly suspended after parents and teachers complained that they hadn’t been consulted. So the district held a series of community meetings over the past several weeks, in an effort to get parents more involved in the decision-making process.
Reaching consensus continues to be difficult. There are many parents – especially those with kids in advanced classes – who complain that the amount of homework students are forced to do is an untenable nightmare. Other parents, however, say it’s just fine.
The district’s new proposal would limit the impact of homework on a student’s grade to 20%. It would also set guidelines on how much time students should have to spend after school working on outside assignments, based on grade level. Kindergartners – yes, even they get homework – would be limited to a total of 10 minutes a day. For fifth graders, the limit would be 50 minutes.
The recommendations were crafted by a 15-member committee of administrators, teachers and parents and will be brought to the Board on April 10th for a vote.
Do the new recommendations strike a better balance for students, parents and teachers? Who should decide how much homework kids get – district officials or individual teachers? Is homework a necessary evil or something that should be abolished altogether? How does homework affect your family?
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