Today’s guest blogger, Frank Bruni, the moving force behind Toronto, Canada’s new, family-friendly homework policy, write about how the new homework policy is working. You can read Frank’s earlier entries here and here and here .
The Price of Homework Reform is Eternal Vigilance
by Frank Bruni
The news from Toronto is good.
Homework reform has been rolled out across the Toronto District School Board and has received wide spread attention. The media coverage the first few days of classes was nothing short of extraordinary.
The feedback that I am getting from the parents that I know is positive. Children are bringing home less and are able do more with their families and friends and participate in other activities. In our own household homework reform has been wonderful. My teen has more time to pursue individual interests, read for pleasure, and, in what is contrary to what we have been told over the years, is enjoying better grades.
However, the transition has not been without hiccups. Some teachers and schools have been slow to adapt and there has been some “interpretation” of the policy that, in my view, is inconsistent with its intent.
In addition, the policy was published in the student planner, a day timer that is given to all elementary students in Toronto; however, key parts of the policy were omitted. Quite by accident, so I was told.
My point is that even when parents are successful in getting the kind of homework policy that they want (or can live with) there is still work to be done.
Having a new policy is not enough. It has to be accepted by all stakeholders and implemented well. It is up to parents to continue to insist that the policy is adhered to. That means when it doesn’t appear to be working SPEAK UP.
I have encouraged many parents to do so and am I working to try to have the published omissions rectified.
Parents and students have influence; they just have to learn to use it.