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Homework Policy Feedback Mixed

Alex Rich
November 29, 2011

In 2010, the district created a committee to gather feedback on the updated homework policy. The committee released a report of their findings at the Oct. 26 FUSD Board of Education Meeting.

The purpose of the committee was to give an update on how the homework policy was affecting students, teachers, and parents.

“We were told that the board was not interested in changing the policy,” world language teacher Jennifer Pardini said.  “So that any suggestions we made would likely not result in any changes by the board.”

Pardini is one of the two WHS teachers on the committee, along with English teacher Sharon Jones.

Teachers have expressed concerns about the policy since it went into effect during the 2010-2011 school year.

“I had to cut out an entire book,” Jones said, referring to Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Pardini is not happy with the way the board is handling the policy.  She argues they don’t know how their own policy works and are unwilling to act in the best interest of students by not realistically preparing them for their future in college.

“The committee was a waste of time for many teachers since our professional opinions [were] often disregarded by the board,” she said.

Ivy Wu, clerk on the board, maintains that the committee was only intended for the public’s general   information.

“Since it was for information only, there was no action taken by the Board,” Wu said.

After analyzing data from parent, teacher, and student surveys, the committee published that an average of 22 percent of students not enrolled in AP or Honors classes felt they experienced a decline in the amount of work assigned, while 41 percent AP or Honors felt they experienced a decline or no change.

A total of 60 percent of parents are under the impression that their children go to school with all their homework completed, while only 40 percent of Honors and AP students say they do all their homework on a regular basis, and only 22 percent of college and non-college-prep students.

However, a majority of students and parents agree that completing homework is an essential part of academic success and that the level of the difficulty of current homework  is appropriate.

“The homework policy didn’t change much,” senior Kevin Ou said. “They might as well go back to the way it was.”

The committee also found that 3 percent of college prep students feel they are not academically stressed, and 61 percent of teachers could not complete the required textbook or readings within the policy’s guidelines.

“[The policy] does not take into consideration that our students take very different workloads,” Jones said.  “It’s one size fits all.”

 

This article originally appeared in the print edition on November 29, 2011.

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