Too Much Homework? Schools & Kids, posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:15 am
There has been a lot of press over that last few years about kids getting too much homework. The new documentary (Race to Nowhere) seems to imply the same thing (I haven't seen it yet, I just infer that from the website). However, research shows that homework levels have actually declined in most grade levels and that in the US our high school students spend substantially less time on homework then many other develop countries.
So the question is, do you think today's students have too much homework, too little homework or just about right?
Posted by Ha!, a resident of the Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 7:25 pm
I'm going to assume the post by yes is a joke. I've been teaching for 20 years and my homework is the same. Many kids, however, have way too much on their plate and unfortunately, school does not come first.
Posted by Parent of good students, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 7:38 pm
Some teachers do give too much homework. A lot of this homework is busy work and not really necessary. Some teachers are very good and give enough homework, all of it with the goal of reinforcing what was learned in class.
Too much homework? Yes, some teachers do give too much homework and lots of busy work.
In elementary, especially, one has to wonder why homework is given at all, given that the kids are in school for so many hours. In elementary for sure, the homework is full of busy work that the students could do without. I do not mind the homework where kids actually learn, or have to read a book and do a report,etc. But the busy work gets to be both expensive and time consuming.
Posted by Mom and teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm
Yes, Pleasanton middle schools and high schools give far too much homework. We are suppose to be raising well-rounded kids. Their weekends should be left in order play like kids and spend time with family, church, etc. Unfortunately, many students have to drop out of extra-curricular activities such as sports, band and scouts because of their homework load. There are ZERO studies that support the 20 min per grade homework standard. There are parents who have gone back to college who don't have as much homework as their children.
As a teacher myself I feel pressured by peers to give a lot of homework. I try to make it meaningful and NEVER give homework over the weekend. Also, with the increased number of students from different cultural backgrounds there ARE parents who ask for more homework. Unfortunately, the schools tend to side with this minority parent group.
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm
Interesting comments Mom and Teacher...what percentage of your students have dropped out of sports, band and scouts to do homework? (obviously you won't have exact figures, but if you have esitmates that would be great)
"As a teacher myself I feel pressured by peers to give a lot of homework. " - even if you feel pressure, you should show your students that peer pressure means nothing - do what you beleive is right. If you are not then maybe you are doing a disservice to your students (by the way, thanks for being a teacher)
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm
Kids DO get too much homework today. How realistic is it that they'll have that much work to do when they're professionals? Do you see doctors or lawyers on TV doing work at home? Heck, I never did my howework, and look how great I turned out! Besides, all those socialist teachers are just trying to brainwash our kids. The less homework they do, the more they'll swell our Tea Party ranks in teh future!
Posted by Same Boat, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Mom and teacher wrote: "Also, with the increased number of students from different cultural backgrounds there ARE parents who ask for more homework. Unfortunately, the schools tend to side with this minority parent group."
Actually as a member of one of those high performing "minority parent groups" referred to, I and just about every parent of this group that I talk too complain about the number of "projects" that keep popping up on top of the assigned weekly homework.
Yes, we are very academically competitive but these projects seem like fluff that adds hours of extra homework time. We are also impacted in religious, family, sports, community, etc. functions.
Yes, we complain just like everyone else; just a lot quieter. :)
Posted by Yolanda, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm
Look at the statistics on depression and suicide in those countries where the students do more homework. Look up the statistics of the population of students who commit suicide at Cornell University in Ithaca. The students are not white, they make up less than 20 percent of the school population, and they commit over 75 percent of the suicides.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm
I don't believe our students receive enough quantity of quality homework. I think homework is important for learning, as well as engaging the parents in the childs' activities. I would prefer to see teachers use class time for teaching, providing time for students to go through examples, ask questions, etc, but to then have assignments they must do on their own at home.
To the poster above that stated "in the real world" people don't get homework - bs, I'm up now working on projects for work. Additionally, school isn't meant to reflect the work place, its meant as a means to provide students with the tools they need to be able to effectively contribute in the work place. School is teaching skills, but the most important skill being taught is the ability to learn.
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm
Yolanda - please site the statistics at Cornell showing this inflated suicide rate...I'm curious because the articles I read, the Cornell officials say the suicide rate is consistent with other colleges, but of course they are protecting their own institution...I would love to send them a reply!
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm
OOPS, a computer erro didn't let me finish
columbia, denmark, sweden, israel, brazil, UK, mexico, spain, greece, egypt...several of which have over twice as much homework time as the US...I don't think its homework that drives these students to suicide
Posted by Yes, too much homework, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:46 pm
I still remember a very dumb project given to my middle school child: something about creating a place with fictional characters (like the mayor could be porky pig) - it was the most stupid thing I have ever seen, and it took my child a long time to do it simply because it was difficult to come up with all these nonsense.
I have finally told my kids that if the work is dumb, don't do it if it won't affect the grade that much.
I think many teachers give a lot of homework because they don't feel like teaching. In high school English classes especially, teachers just get the students to read the books in class, then do homework. No teaching but lots of work.
Too much homework is given, and in Pleasanton, we have had our share of suicides: an Amador freshman jumped in front of the train not long ago, I do believe there is too much homework.
In College, I did not have as much homework as my kids and the homework I did have was meant for learning purposes. I also did not have to go to the same class every day. A class met twice or three times a week (plus lab with classes like Chemistry). Our kids in high school have the same class every day and still get homework? Come on!
Posted by Vicki, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 6:09 am
Looking back on my education, there were many more opportunities for relevant, world experiences than kids have today. Check out the leading researcher on the subject of homework, Harris Cooper, who concludes that in elementary school there is no correlation between homework and academic achievement, in middle school only a moderate correlation and in high school anything over 2 hours leads to detrimental consequences. What works? Reading for pleasure, eating dinner together and longer range, student driven assignments. Why don't the labor laws apply to children putting in 2nd shifts after school? Kids need time to sleep so they return to school ready to engage and learn. Teachers are pressured by both standards and parents. We can see change if we start by giving more choice - allow families to opt out for younger children, stop grading the homework, and in high school restructuring school so kids are not shifting gears between 5-7 classes each day and then preparing in the evening for the same number of classes. Imagine if the adults had 7 bosses to work for after hours each day.
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 6:30 am
I liked Rina's comment about the teacher that had the students do their projects in class. If that were done more, we would see projects that really reflect the students' work rather than their parents. Some of the projects I've seen at science fairs were obviously not the work of the students and it puts pressure on other parents to work with their children on these projects to compete on an equal level. This defeats the purpose of the assigned project and adds to grade inflation.
On another note, when my children moved from private schools to Pleasanton's public schools, I was shocked at some of the homework assignments in middle school (using colors and game boards to answer easy questions and graded on the non-academic portion of the project). A waste of an evening in my opinion. The Pleasanton schools are excellent but the homework policies should be evaluated.
Posted by Homework needs to be relevant and done in school, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:05 am
I agree with Vicki.
Reading for pleasure is what makes kids good readers. I was very surprised to see the curriculum for high school Honors English. The kind of books they make the kids read are a big waste of time (try reading the mango street book, a very short, poorly written book that is definitely not Honors English material - there are other novels of the same type of subject that could have been chosen).
With kids in school for the same class 5 days a week, one would think that 3 could be used for teaching, the other 2 to let the kids do their homework at school. This would simulate college a little better. It would also let teachers see who is really doing the work (many kids get help from parents or tutors and thus turn in work that is not 100% theirs, this would quickly end if the work was done mostly in school. After all, even in junior colleges or 4 year universities, lectures for a particular class meet no more than 3 times per week)
The PUSD schools are great but they need to re-evaluate the way they assign homework, as well as the kind of homework they assign.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:19 am
What I would like to know is why some teachers use classtime for silent reading rather than actually teaching? Maybe utilizing the minutes in class to teach and review the next day will eliminate some of the homework load. Ask your children what they actually do in class.. a lot of the time I'm being told they write notes on subject matters that they need to understand with no guidance.. then homework is given on that topic...I remember when I was in school the teacher actually walked through the subject matter, exercises were done in class and sometimes homework was given to go through class the next day..now I hear homework is submitted to be graded (if graded or just submitted for a grade) and no follow up on it exempt for a quiz the next day.
Posted by Pleasanton alumnus, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:42 am
"Too much homework is given, and in Pleasanton, we have had our share of suicides: an Amador freshman jumped in front of the train not long ago, I do believe there is too much homework."
Maybe I'm reading that comment wrong, but it deeply offended me. I knew and loved Evelyn and I'm pretty sure the reason that she made the choice that she made had nothing to do with that. We teens do have other drama in our lives.
I haven't been in the PUSD system for a couple of years, but I remember the difference between the work I received in AP classes as opposed to some of the other classes... in general, we didn't get as much homework in the AP classes but had to do a heck of a lot more studying! This is as opposed to the classes where the work consisted of taking notes from the book, 1 page minimum (which was a waste of time, since I never used my notes after I wrote them) or answering concept questions. So in some ways, the workload was the same for both kinds of classes, except that if we chose to not study in the AP classes, well, the test scores were indication enough...
However, I feel that some homework is necessary. How else are you going to know if you truly understand the concepts or not? Imagine taking a math test without ever having practiced solving quadratic equations.
Posted by Middle School Parent, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:48 am
Pleasanton Parent, I agree. My son has to have a book for silent reading every day. Silent reading should be done at home, teaching should be done in the classroom.
If my son received QUALITY homework I would be happy with the level. The teachers in schools only seem to have time for specific student that they want to teach, not the general classroom or the teachers waste class time and then expect the kids to do the work, with no instruction, at home.
And trying to get an appointment with most of teachers is impossible, they don't want to talk with you about what is going on in the classroom. I was raised in Pleasanton schools and the homework levels are the same as when I was in school, the quality of learning from homework has gone down.
Posted by Jon, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:56 am
I have kids in all levels of school in Pleasanton. My experience is that there is a lot of homework in K-5 and bigger projects for kids at a younger age. The homework seems to be less in 6-7 grade and then in 8th they can have up to 3+ hours per night. High school seems to drop off some and go back to about 1-2 hours per night. I have had kids in Pleasanton schools for a long time now and this has been a complaint for most parents for as long as I can remember. Let's face it they are in school about as long as we are at work, can you imagine going home and working for an additional 3 hours? I know some of us do but your spouse and kids do not like it. I have also noticed that it is some teachers and not all teachers. There should be a guidelines to keep it consistent.
Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:01 am
Let's see. Overall test scores of Jr. High & High School students have been falling for the better part of the last decade. Through budget shortfalls, cuts & teacher layoffs we now have an average of 12-18 fewer school days a year. Math & science aptitude scores are in the bottom 10...WORLDWIDE. Combine that with the helicopter mommy mentality of making sure that Johnny & Susy both have soccer, field hockey, piano, dance, boy/girl scouts, the old fashioned "save the earth" twice yearly protests, play dates, skateboard free time, PS3/XBox tournaments & just to be safe throw in a few hours of texting a day too. You begin to wonder how all these "well rounded" activities that our children are subjected to actually do more to stifle their growth, maturity & education & if anything help contribute to "burnout" at earlier & earlier ages.
Homework if anything can only help to acclimate the young-folk to the reality that life is full of Home Work. Whether it's working on a business plan, client proposal, expense report, studying for a an accreditation exam, preparing for a presentation or just organizing your desk drawer it creates good work habits.
Posted by Pleasanton alumnus, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:24 am
You've got to remember, Nosy Neighbors, that those activities are what make kids more competitive when it comes time to apply for college. Don't have two sports, a musical instrument and a 3.5 GPA? Forget it and apply to Las Positas; at least you'll save some money on the GE classes.
I do agree, though, that there seems to be this mentality that kids HAVE to be kept constantly entertained and engaged...
Posted by Nosy Nosy, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:28 am
Good post Nosy - of course kids are overwhelmed with homework, its because when the teacher gives them an assignment that should take 15-20 minutes, it takes 2 hours because while doing the assignment they are texting, using facebook, listing to their ipod and watching Hulu. Yes, students can multi-task and listening to music does help some kids with certain types of activities, but don't be so quick to blame the schools for long homework in high school, when the kids usually make it much longer than it should be.
But I do agree with several posts (and the research) that most (if not all) homework in elementary school is basically worthless.
Posted by Walter, a resident of the Heritage Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:02 am
@ Pleasanton alumnus: What's wrong with going to Las Positas? I earned my AA at LP and went onto UCLA to complete my 4-year degree and saved a bundle. 6 of my 11 direct reports got their 4-year at an Ivy League, so again, what's wrong with going to LP?
Posted by PleasantonMom, a resident of the Ironwood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:44 am
As a parent of an Amador Student, I can assure you that there is way to much homework We have been up past 12:00 and I know some of his friends are up even later doing the AP work The school board says that there are rules about homework...maybe the teachers should read them.
Posted by Pleasanton res, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:03 pm
I believe if teachers can keep the kids motivated and excited in class that the test scores would actually go up. I have had teachers who have made even history class interesting.. teachers should be challenging their students not put them to sleep or have the silent read...I recall back in my days that my English teacher was so frustrated with our class, our test scores were low, class participation was non existant so she chose 5 students to teach her class based on the lesson plans that were given by the district and had them come up with interesting ways to teach it and make it interesting for the kids...was amazing how she was able to learn from 5th graders better ways to teach and how it relates to how they like to learn...
Posted by reasonable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm
My observation has been that middle school, in particular, demands too much home work time (more than high school!!). My middle schooler often spends 2-4 hours on homework and is often sleep deprived trying to get through it. There should be room in a teen's life for 1-2 hours/day of extracurricular or social activities. When it comes to fitness, college application and just enjoyment of life, taking part in sports, scouts, or church activities is also important.
As for elementary homework, it should be something the child can do at home ON THEIR OWN, NOT a project that involves parental research, creativity, time management, shopping for materials, and special transportation! Those kinds of projects should be conducted in class or taken home only in small "bites" the kids can manage independently. Otherwise it is just a competition between the parents to see who can put together a more polished project.
Posted by Agree with reasonable, a resident of the Heritage Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm
Middle schools do demand way too much homework time from our children. My children are at least two to three grade levels ahead in Math and Science and they still find themselves spending enormous amount of time on research projects, leaving very little time for anything else. Fortunately, they are able to complete their Math and Science assignments in a quarter of the time it takes his friends and classmates. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for his friends.
Posted by Old Nick, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm
Evidently you didn't learn the falacy of citing an isolated case as evidence of the general condition. You should do some research into the average salary of a Los Positas grad versus an Ivy League grad and then you would see that your argument is as impactful as a f*rt in a hurricane.
By the way, I'm sure you Ivy League subordinates enjoy your attitude.
Posted by Old Nick, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 1:20 pm
American parents keep complaining about how hard their kids work in school, as much of the developed world is passing us by because they put a higher value on solid education and less value on their kids playing football (American or soccer), texting, sexting, twittering, having sex, and working at a fast food joint to pay for a car they don't need.
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm
Old Nick - but making random correlations also doesn't work for you aregument. Just because people average a higher salary does not mean it is a better school, it just means that there is a postive correlation. Maybe they did not teacher statistics at your Ivy League school.
Posted by Lake Woebegon Resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Village neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm
You're all right. Those damn teachers are making the damn kids work too damned hard. This is all the fault of those evil teachers' unions.
I think every Pleasanton child or teenager should be guaranteed an A+ grade because everybody knows that in Pleasanton, all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.
And test scores should keep going up and up even though the kids don't have to do homework. And if they don't, it's all the fault of those evil teachers' unions.
Posted by bad rap, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm
I am a teacher at a school in Livermore, but my kids go to Vintage Hills. As a teacher, every time that I have parent complaints about homework- I include their child in homework club. It shows them that their child is completing the homework in a half an hour (math, language arts). Even some of my more challenging/struggling students are able to complete the homework (without including the 20 min of reading, which we all know that most parents neglect to do with their child)within that time frame. I am monitoring them to make sure that they are on task- so then please tell me why they are not able to do that at home?
The fact is that most students do not go home to a quiet environment and are monitored. They do their homework at the kitchen table where there is traffic, noise, and a lot of distraction (including food, bathroom breaks, little brothers/sisters, etc..) For my own kids, they come home- get a snack and I let them play until 5:00. At 5:00, we sit down and start our homework. My son does his homework at the dining room table and my other son does his at his desk in his room- away from each other and away from distraction. In between making dinner, doing laundry, etc... I walk from room to room and monitor them. If they need help, I tell them to skip it and we will go over it when they are finished. It's not that hard PEOPLE!
I advise my parents to use a timer and really look at if their child is on task during that time. In homework club- I am monitoring to see that the child is on task. Why are parents at home not doing the same? Are there frequent bathroom breaks, snack breaks, are they pulling you over for attention? 9 times out of 10- the student wants their mom/dad to sit with them because then they tell them the answer or they are just getting the attention that they want.
Try setting up a reward system if your child completes his/her homework with accuracy in a certain amount of time. I guarantee you that this will help your child stay on task and free up some of your time. I don't know ANY teacher that assigns 2 hours of homework.
If it's a project, maybe it is a lesson on budgeting time and starting things early; pacing yourself so it is not done the night before.
I honestly cannot speak for any other teacher, but I think it is safe to assume that no teacher in their right mind would assign that much homework because then they would have to grade it! Don't be so quick all of you above to blame the teacher for your lack of parenting skills. Nice lessons you are teaching your children... blame the teacher- it's never your fault- always someone else's.
I agree with the post above that projects should be done at school. My son's fourth grade teacher, a wonderful teacher at Vintage Hills, did the mission projects at school. It was really a great activity because students actually had to work together to problem solve and think critically. When they finished, their projects were FOURTH GRADE student work, not 35 year old parent work that looks like something from a woodshop class. It is challenging to do this at school, especially when teaching time is so limited in the day, but perhaps these are the most important lessons/opportunities that we can give our students.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm
"I am a teacher at a school in Livermore, but my kids go to Vintage Hills. As a teacher, every time that I have parent complaints about homework"
Students in Livermore do not get as much homework as students in Pleasanton. I know because my child has friends who go to Livermore Schools - even high schools like Granada and Livermore do not get as much homework.
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Apr 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm
I don't understand all the squawking about home work? When I was a teen, I did what I could do and let the rest go and nobody jumped all over me. There was so much to do in London, I don't think that I suffered by not doing all my homework. I was all over the place and I never lost any sleep when I failed to hand in an assignment, not a wink!
I think most of you are too uptight...give it a rest, give the kids a break and moveon.com.
Posted by paula, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Homework is suppose to be practice, but most of it doesn't even get marked. So I ask myself, if it's not mark then how much of it is beneficial to our children? I do not mind homework being given to my children as long as it is worth while. I am opposed to my children receiving homework on the weekend! That is family time, and a time where children need to relax, unwind, and not think about school.
As for children stretching themselves thinly, we need to get real. Obesity amongst the American population is a major problem. Go to Europe, take your family, then you'll see how fat we really are. My belief is that kids need a sense of relief. The more they are out playing and the more sport they do, the less likely they will die of a heart attack. Every thing in life should be about moderation, and no matter where your children end up let's hope they'll be happy, healthy individuals. Too much pressure is place on children to attend four year colleges. There are many people who become successful and never attended them. Bill Gates and Richard Brandson are prime example that no one way is the right way. We are too quick to judge others, and by the way how do we define success?
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 8:40 pm
"Homework is suppose to be practice, but most of it doesn't even get marked."
yes, homework is for practice, to give the students practice on the concept they just learned. If they understand the material and can complete the homework then that should signal to them and the teacher to move on. If they can't get it, they should ask the teacher to explain it again most likely in a different way. If the homework is graded how does that help the students who don't understand the material, it just gets them frustrated.
Posted by To that Livermore teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:52 pm
"Are there frequent bathroom breaks, snack breaks, are they pulling you over for attention? "
No, this is Pleasanton, not Livermore. Our kids work hard, and believe me, there is too much homework given, in elementary, middle and high school.
"or my own kids, they come home- get a snack and I let them play until 5:00"
You just made the case: if you are a teacher and yet you have the luxury to baby your kids until 5, and then supervise homework, it is TRUE that teaching is a part time job!
"When they finished, their projects were FOURTH GRADE student work, not 35 year old parent work that looks like something from a woodshop class."
And yet all teachers in Pleasanton assign unrealistic projects for k-5 students. Michael's loves that, we spend lots of money there, and the projects are not realistic for a child. btw, our 4th grade teacher also had a project done in class, but I happened to be a volunteer, and trust me, the kids did minimal work, the project was so complex that it was us, the parent helpers who did most of it.
Teachers need to assign work that their students can do on their OWN.
"Don't be so quick all of you above to blame the teacher for your lack of parenting skills"
We are not blaming anyone for our parenting skills because those are just fine. We are blaming incompetent teachers for not knowing how to teach, for assigning too much homework, most of it stupid assignments, and for not knowing what kind of projects are relevant for their students.
Posted by bad rap, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm
To- TO THAT LIVERMORE TEACHER-
Wow- Do you know how condescending you sound? "This is Pleasanton, not Livermore"... maybe the teachers should assign you some reading comp. homework because obviously you are not reading my post correctly.
My kids go to a Pleasanton School. I live in Pleasanton... but I teach in Livermore. I am fully aware of the amount of homework that Pleasanton teachers assign as I have my kids in Pleasanton schools.
I do my extra work when my kids are in bed thank you very much and almost every Sunday I am back at school working, so don't get on your high horse and talk to me about teaching being a part time job. I also spend my summers taking classes and teaching summer school- so don't even make it sound like I don't earn my 50 grand a year. I also have a master's degree in education from Cal and look at my paycheck above. I am in this profession because I love kids and if I can be that reason that the light bulb goes on, then it is all worth it. Even putting up with condescending comments and snide remarks from jerks like you.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I think the issue isn't that the children are taking 40 minutes to complete 20 minutes of homework. The issue is that 40 minutes of homework are being assigned when only 20 was appropriate. You're children are in elementary school so your experience may change as they enter higher grades.
I agree with you on the home environment thing. Parents don't know how to keep their kids on task by setting up a proper supporting environment. One way to look at that is that the parents need to get on-board. Another way to look at it is that you can expect parents not to be on-board and account for that. Why should a child have their education suffer because their parents don't know or don't want to be involved?
Posted by bad rap, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:57 am
I agree with you. The homework club really helps. I know that they do that at Vintage Hills too. It shows parents that students are capable and actually shows students that they are capable. It is a slippery slope though because then sometimes parents figure that if they don't make it a priority then the homework club will come in and help them, when it is really a home issue.
I also see your point about the 40 minutes of homework. I do know that because of all the extra specialist classes that regular class time has been cut short in Pleasanton. Maybe that is what accounts for the additional homework- when teachers cannot get to it in class for lack of time? It seemed like that was true when my son was in 5th grade, but I used it as a lesson in pacing. We had a calendar and just like I do when I assign a bigger assignment, we mapped out what we thought should be done when. We worked on when homework nights were lighter than others. I think it all depends on your attitude. Now believe me, I have seen some "projects" that I have questioned their purpose, but if I really sat down and thought about it or took the time to look at their standards..... I often found that there was a good reason and it was indeed valuable. So many parents just think that teachers would assign a project "just because", when in fact- there is a good reason. If you don't agree, then I would encourage you to ask your child's teacher next time they get assigned a project what was the purpose or what standards are we practicing/meeting by doing this project, instead of complaining about it on such a forum.
I also think that if your child's homework is taking that long, go and talk to the teacher! I am sure that is not their intention and there is a way that they can work with you. For example, do the odds to a math page, or get some of the assignment in advance, or getting the study guide in advance, etc... Remember, that teachers are out there to push your child academically to their greatest potential and inspire life long learning. If they are not aware of this, there is not much they can do about it.....
Posted by To that Livermore teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:08 am
"My kids go to a Pleasanton School. I live in Pleasanton... but I teach in Livermore. I am fully aware of the amount of homework that Pleasanton teachers assign as I have my kids in Pleasanton schools."
Your kids are in elementary. You do not know how much homework is given in middle and high schools. It is a lot, much more than required, and the busy work continues in the upper grades.
"Wow- Do you know how condescending you sound? "This is Pleasanton, not Livermore"... maybe the teachers should assign you some reading comp. homework because obviously you are not reading my post correctly."
Condescending? Look who is talking. You said people should stop blaming teachers for their bad parenting skills! Who do you think you are to make comments like that? Oh yeah, a teacher, union employee who finds it easier to blame everyone except themselves. So assigning too much homework, most of it unnecessary and stupid is a parent's fault? Elementary homework is silly and requires parental involvement for some projects (buying materials, etc), but the homework in the upper grades is worse: too much and often very stupid assignments - a continent out of tropical fruit? a city with porky pig as mayor? Bad teaching, poor selection of appropriate homework.
"I do my extra work when my kids are in bed thank you very much and almost every Sunday I am back at school working,"
Teachrs' work is done at school, that is where the teacher is needed, not at home.
If one of your students needs help, you are obviously not available after the bell rings.... you are probably one of those teachers thanks to whom we get half days during conference time, so you can go home at 3 rather than putting in a full day.
"so don't get on your high horse and talk to me about teaching being a part time job."
It is a part-time job: summers off, many holidays off, spring break, home before 5....
"I also spend my summers taking classes and teaching summer school-"
You do not teach summer school for free. In addition to your teaching salary (for which you only work 10 months), you get paid when and if you CHOOSE to get an additional job such as teaching summer school.
"so don't even make it sound like I don't earn my 50 grand a year. I also have a master's degree in education from Cal"
Not a difficult degree to get. If a higher pay is what you are after, why not complete a degree in say Biochem from a UC and get a higher paid job? Of course, you would have to give up your summers and many holidays, you will have to earn your full time pay.
Posted by lynne, a resident of the Ironwood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:18 am
Never be afraid to approach a teacher with your concerns, it shows them that you are a parent who cares. I do believe that teachers give busy homework. My son's English teacher grades his work, then makes the class put that work in a binder which she marks again. I know the reason why she does it, it teaches them organization, but turning the work in on time in the first place shows they are organized. This is busy work, and that 20 minutes that it took my son to arrange all his papers could have been better spent else where.
I am a big believer that your child's education is the most valuable thing they are taught in their life, but having kids stressed at a young age is not the right approach to an education. We as adults know the pressures of life, and our kids should not be feeling that at a young age. Homework needs to be controlled, it is not acceptable for a child to have two hours of homework, then receive two tests the next day. It is overwhelming for any child to have to deal with.
This area is all about good scores, great colleges, who's honor's list, when it should be about the health and well being of our children. A happy child is a well round individual, one who enjoys school, and well as life itself!
Posted by Jay, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:28 am
Take note from the British school system. One reason projects are done in class is because the project gets done by the child not the parent. Ever seen a seven year old draw like an adult? Get real pleasanton people. all the project done at home are mainly your work. All the science project, literacy writing assignment all have the input of parents who want to show how very talented your children really are. If more work was done in school, this would show exactly what a child can do, not what was created by parents at the kitchen table!
Posted by bad rap, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm
To: TO THAT LIVERMORE TEACHER
"Teachrs' work is done at school, that is where the teacher is needed, not at home." So when should I grade the papers? When should I plan lessons? When should I create materials and prep? At school, when I'm teaching? When I'm pulling small groups and conferencing with students? I think not. I do my prep before, on my breaks and lunch, and after school.
"If one of your students needs help, you are obviously not available after the bell rings.... you are probably one of those teachers thanks to whom we get half days during conference time, so you can go home at 3 rather than putting in a full day."
-Actually, if you were reading carefully, you would have seen that I teach a homework club after school... for free... for my students.
Your personal attacks are showing how shallow and close minded you really are.
"It is a part-time job: summers off, many holidays off, spring break, home before 5...."
-You didn't count the hours after school I work, or the hours I come in on weekends. I work 10 hour days, 5 days a week and then about 4-5 hours on the weekend. Total:Give/Take 55 hours a week. Maybe more considering that I work through my breaks at school.
I am not here to debate whose degree is more difficult to earn. Sure, I could have gone into another profession that pays more. However, I had the courage to forgo the hefty paycheck for a career that really mattered. I can truly touch lives with teaching and help children reach their potential. What have you done lately?
It's people like you that give Pleasanton a bad name. Your condescending attitude and hate that you are spewing on here toward me for no reason (perhaps because I am a part of the system you despise so much) undermines your sweeping generalizations about our profession. I wasn't complaining about my job, just saying that I earn my paycheck; regardless of how small and insignificant it is to yours. Why don't you put your "BioChem" masters to work, get off your ass, and try one of the toughest, but most rewarding professions there is; teaching- before you open your mouth any further.
Posted by Pleasanton alumnus, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm
Walter- I don't find anything wrong with las positas. In fact, I'm going there myself at the moment. Sorry for not clearing that up.
One thing I've noticed ever since starting college is the difference between people who didn't do their homework in high school and those who did. The professors aren't going to call your parents if you slack off on the work; they'll merely flunk you. So it's better that kids learn right away how to prioritize their time!
Posted by Teacher in the middle, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm
I teach history in Pleasanton and am very conflicted about the amount of homework I assign. The reality is that the state standards cannot be covered in the time I have unless I force students to learn some of it indepenently via homework or research projects. 180 class periods (minus time lost for assessments, rallies, surveys, elections, Every 15 Minutes, scheduling presentations from the counselors and so all the other outside encroachers on class time) is not enough time to teach US History from 1492 to 2010. Add to that studies that show students need to be exposed to info 6 times, preferably in different modalities for different learning styles, to keep the info in long term memory... I don't know how to assign less homework without seeing my test scores drop.
Posted by To Teacher in the middle, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm
I agree that there is too much to cover. As a parent, I support all homework that is meant for learning the standards.
However, my child had to do an assignment (history) where the learning was not quite there and the hwk took too long because of that. They were learning about the system (religion, politics, etc) and rather than just learning it or doing a relevant project, they were assigned a project where fictional characters had to be used (porky pig as mayor, etc). My child had a hard time coming up with all these fictional items. I personally failed to see the purpose of the project, and my understanding from talking to other parents, is that the project was assigned to all classes. All the parents I talked to were as confused about the purpose of the project as I was. We failed to see how it helped the learning of the history lesson.
It is the busy work I have problems with. When I see homework that is relevant to the learning of the lesson, I support that. When I see a bunch of busy work that keeps the kids working until late and does not help with the learning, I have a problem with that.
A friend of mine has a kid in high school, and for Honors Global Studies, they had to do a similar silly project: a fictional character with fruit and all.
Time is limited as you said, and that is why it is so important to give relevant homework, and stop the busy work.
Focus on the material. Perhaps assigning students to read the chapter and answer some relevant questions about the material, or writing an essay about it, would be good (for classes like history).
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm
You know what I hate, people who work in BioChem...they are all losers and do nothing all day, yet take home huge paycheck because they think they have saved th world....BioChem people such the life out of our system and are destroying the world.
Posted by lynne, a resident of the Avignon neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2010 at 9:53 am
His time could have been better spend, revising for his science test, his history test, his book report, his twenty math problems. I agree with that parent if a child has already given that work in and the work has already been marked, why recollect and remark it again. How would you like to iron all your clothes, only to redo it all over again. Get real!
Posted by 3Sons, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Apr 30, 2010 at 11:47 am
There are District guidelines for homework. When the Board voted on them I felt it was too much but do not remember the specifics. There is far too much homework and college prep pressure put on our kids.
My very high achieving HS student once told me, that he often looked at what tests/homework he had and what he needed to do the next day, and thought it would just be better to not wake up the next day.
Until then I thought he was lucky and was handling it all well. Of course we talked to his counselor and worked to put things in better balance but to achieve the "good college" goal that is the path. Our family changed some of our priorities after that but my kids then paid for it when it came time to apply to colleges.
Everything in the film Race to Nowhere is true, we need to find a way to bring balance back to our kids lives without them losing college opportunities.
Posted by To Clueless, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2010 at 12:58 pm
"Last I checked Las Positas accept anyone 18 years or older so how can our kids lose college opportunities? All they need to do is apply and pay the low tuition. Get real parents!"
There is nothing wrong with attending Las Positas or another community college.
However, for those students who want to go straight to a 4 year university, I agree with the comment that we need to find a balance without compromising our children's ability to be competitive enough to get into the college of their choice.
After all, if students know all they can aim for is a community college, then why bother even getting a high school diploma? Community colleges in California accept anyone 18 or older even without a high school degree - yes, it is true, I was shocked when I heard this but I actually verified with evey community college I could think of.
Some students want to go straight to a 4 year university and those are the students that need to find a balance between what is required academically speaking and everything else.
Again, nothing wrong with going to Las Positas. But for a 4 year college, the standards are high and it is quite competitive (to get into the competitive colleges).
Posted by Agree with Lynne, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm
"Homework needs to be controlled, it is not acceptable for a child to have two hours of homework, then receive two tests the next day"
I agree 100%.
""and that 20 minutes that it took my son to arrange all his papers could have been better spent else where."
I agree. Arranging papers is busy work, my child has to do that too - then put all that in a binder, with all this other busy work and turn it in for grading once more. Each item in the binder was already graded once, but then all of it has to be placed in the binder and turned in for grading!
So a good student who made As in all the assignments and fails to turn in the famous color coded, neatly arranged (as per the teacher's rules) binder gets their final grade lowered to a B. A not so good student who got Cs on all the work and turns in the binder also gets the final grade of B!
The C student could use the time better by actually studying rather than organizing papers, punching holes and turning in a neat looking binder. When students take the SATs, what will count is the score, how well the students know the material, not how well they choose to put up with a teacher that demands a color coded binder with all the busy work neatly arranged.
The binder cannot be kept the way the students want to. They have to follow all these ridiculous rules: color coded, etc. Fail to follow the rules and you will get a bad grade.
Posted by JUNE, a resident of the Avignon neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm
Why on earth would a teacher make a child rearrange work that has already been graded, and expect them to turn it in for more marking? Isn't this creating more work for the child and the teacher? This is exactly what parents are talking about, busy work creates nothing more than a miserable child and parent. If a child turns in a piece of homework, that in itself shows the child is responsible. People need to get real in this area, more doesn't necessary mean a brighter, smarter child. That's all it creates is an unhappy household and a child that doesn't like school. I also agree with the comment that most of the homework is never marked. So what happens to the child who didn't get the homework? Is anyone taking any notice that he or she needs extra help. Did anyone pick up on the fact. I guess not, because nobody bothered to look at it. I appreciate everything that a teacher does for my child, homework is getting way out of control.