Norwalk, Connecticut, Board of Education Considers Homework Policy Change

The policy committee of the Norwalk, Connecticut, Board of Education, is considering updating its policy on homework. According to The Stamford Advocate, the proposed policy states: “‘Homework should never be assigned as a punishment, nor should it be removed as a reward in order to avoid the negative perception of homework.” The report recommends:

* Daily homework for students in kindergarten to grade 2 would not exceed 10 minutes, 15 minutes for students grades 3 to 5, 60 to 90 minutes for grades 6 to 8 and up to two hours for high schoolers.

* In elementary school, no homework would be assigned over weekends or holidays, but independent reading would be a daily expectation; 15 minutes for kindergarten to second grade and 30 minutes for grades 3 to 5 to be monitored by teachers.

According to The Advocate, the report

also recommends that teachers go over homework with students the next day rather than grading it and handing it back. “When homework is simply graded, it communicates to students that the real reason for doing homework is evaluation, not learning the concepts,” the policy draft states. For long-term projects, such as book reports, essays and research papers assigned in middle and high schools, students would be required to meet periodic deadlines to complete the project in installments. “So we don’t just say, ‘This is due in two months,’ ” Lang said.

* In middle and high schools, homework grades would not make up more than 15 percent of a student’s final quarter grade under the new policy.

* Teachers would be required to provide make-up homework opportunities within 48 hours to avoid zero grades for students who could not complete the work because they didn’t understand it.

9 thoughts on “Norwalk, Connecticut, Board of Education Considers Homework Policy Change

  1. 2 hours seems like a lot of homework to me. Especially for high schoolers who frequently have time consuming after school activities or after school jobs. And considering that high school students have many different teachers does that mean that each teacher can only give a portion of that 2 hour block of homework time? What about students who participate in things like band or chorus? Do their mandatory concerts count as their homework for that evening?

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  2. These ideas come from people who do not actually work in a classroom. What is to prevent students to never finish work on time by saying they don’t understand it. If we never instill in our students the skills needed to complete work outside of the school and on time, we are dooming them for college and the work force.

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  3. I am having my students write persuasive essays about a no homework policy for their and one of them used this site as a source. I think we have too much homework for some students, but I disagree on two points. 1) that all homework needs to be reviewed the next day so that student perception is not that homework is for evaluation. The fact is that students need more review and practice of skills than there is time to spend in the class reviewing. Dictating to teachers how they will use homework suggests that all the potential uses of homework have been investigated and understood by the policymakers. And, I doubt that. My neice has writing homework every night and her writing has improved greatly since she began this program. Her teacher doesn’t have the time to review every single writing assignment. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t improve simply because of the practice and by applying meaningful comments on one assignment to the three or four that won’t be reviewed.

    2) Students in my classes invariably don’t understand any assignment that they don’t want to do. If I had to create alternate assignments for each student who “didn’t understand” I’d never have time to do anything else. A better solution is to tell students that an effort to complete a task is more important than whether it’s right. Struggling through and trying to solve a problem creates an independent learner…. even if their solution is entirely off base. A built in escape hatch from difficult or challenging work is a weakening agent, and not as compassionate as it appears.

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  4. I am a certified teacher, now a stay-at-home mom to a first and fourth grader. Most my teaching years were in grades K-3. I’m fresh at the end of the kid’s school day and am excited to help the kids with their homework. However, after a full day of school for them, activities, (I home school religious ed., they’re both in piano, both in scouts, one’s currently in basketball. . .), trying to get dinner in together , they are often tired and uncooperative. I like the idea of good study habits and parents knowing what’s going on in school and staying involved with their childrens’ educations. If I were a working parent, like most are, unfortunately, it would be one more thing to pack in to a more than full day. I like the time guidelines for homework K-5, but I think the jump in Middle School and HIgh School is unreasonable. I think there should be a study hall involved at these grade levels and then, on average, only up to about an hour of homework expected after the long school day. If there were more stay-at-home parents, less activities and less complicated lifestyles, it would be easier, but I think the stress levels of many families are way too high and more homework makes it more frustrating. Some things to think about. ..

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  5. Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

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  6. From my personal perspective as a parent and as a teacher, I believe that we should not push our children past their ability. This is called age appropriate learning. We are pushing our kids more towrads drugs and cuicide when we are putting too much stress and pressure on them to suceed. I believe they will be more motivated to suceed when they are able to see how much fun learning is and how important it is with a proper level of motivation, not stress and negative pressure. Children NEED down time just like us adults do and too much homework after school just makes them depressed and stressed after a full day of school already.

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  7. Deanna, wow, great comment. Well said! What grade do you teach? If only all teachers had the sense you’ve shared here.

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