Realizing that high school students need a break from school work over the summer, three Boston area high schools have severely limited the amount of work teachers can assign, according to an article in The Boston Globe, Summer plans: Fewer pencils, fewer books.
For the second summer in a row, teachers at Needham High aren’t allowed to assign summer homework in most classes and even the traditional English reading requirement has been broadened so that students have much greater choice in what they read. At neighboring Westwood and Weston High Schools, written assignments and history assignments have been significantly reduced.
According to the Globe, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association who informally surveyed principals stated, “Teachers were not consulting each other about how much homework they were giving, and administrators did not question the practice until parents pushed back.”
While doing research for The Case Against Homework, I interviewed the principal of Needham High, Paul Richards. He’s an educator who’s concerned about the amount of stress today’s students face, he’s in a position to do something about it, and he is. But we parents shouldn’t wait for sympathetic administrators to see the light. It’s up to us to question the practice of overloading our children and to push for change.