High School Teacher Assigns Homework to Parents

According to an article in The New York Times, an English teacher at a Montclair, New Jersey, high school assigns regular homework to the parents. Since September, the teacher

has asked the parents to read and comment on a Franz Kafka story, Section 1 of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and a speech given by Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Their newest assignment is a poem by Saul Williams, a poet, musician and rapper who lives in Los Angeles. The ninth graders complete their assignments during class; the parents are supposed to write their responses on a blog Mr. Frye started online. If the parents do not comply, Mr. Frye tells them, their child’s grade may suffer — a threat on which he has made good only once in the three years he has been making such assignments.

Are you ready for homework from your child’s teacher?

9 thoughts on “High School Teacher Assigns Homework to Parents

  1. Fantastic! It’s tough for me to decide weather I like him affecting his students grades based on their parents actions, I quickly rember how grades matter more to parents than kids – but still, those college gpa baselines are getting higher (and stupider). I genuinly love this idea.


  2. I was a lit major in college; could probably knock out this assignment in five minutes; and yet I hate the idea. What is it trying to accomplish? If the parent is going to engage with the child and discuss literature, then he or she will do it without being forced to do “homework” on a blog; and if the parent is not going to engage, then threatening the child’s grade only hurts the child.


  3. I’ll do the teacher’s assigned homework if the teacher takes on my recommended professional development program for teachers (on his or her own time). We start with something simple like blogs in education, develop personal knowledge management skills and then become conversant with several social networking platforms and understand their pedagogical implications. Finally, some time in a multi-user virtual environment, like Second Life, to see where the Web is going.


  4. The concept is so ludicrous that it begs the question, why is he doing this? I would imagine that it is to force engagement between parents and students on homework issues. Maybe instead of calling or messaging friends to complain about the assignments and the work load, they can keep the commiseration in the family?

    It isn’t the first time I have heard of homework for parents. A friend told me recently that her daughter came home from the first day of grade 9 with the assignment for the parents to write a 1000 word piece on their daughter to help the teacher get to know her. My friend scrawled on a piece of loose leaf to check her file and gave her cell number…

    Some of the suggestions in the article are wildly offensive! This seems like yet another way for “the state” to invade the home and tell people how to sped their time, what to read, how to respond to it. Idiocy!

    Sounds like yet another fool has fallen in the trap of confusing correlation with causation. There is a correlation between parents being involved in education and academic performance, that doesn’t indicate that the involvement caused that performance.


  5. You know, my initial reaction was “no way in hell,” but after reading the article and thinking about it a bit, I think I kind of like the idea. It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable amount of work, and it also seems like it would help parents connect with kids AND with other parents at the school.


  6. As a very occasional (like perhaps twice a semester) and nongraded means of stimulating discussion between parents and children- I could stomach it. The grading and frequency are nervy and insulting. I finished high school, college, and graduate school already. Conversely, what about parents who are not highly literate or are not English speakers? Should their competent children suffer?


  7. actually i think this teacher may have hit on a great idea, he’s just going about it the wrong way! it would be fun for families to choose books to read together and discuss amongst themselves, but as for a teacher assigning me homework? no thanks, i’m too busy helping my child with hers!


  8. I can be involved/privy to what my child is learning without be required to do homework. There are many constructive ways. This reeks of “Big Brother” and frankly I feel I would be sending my children the wrong message concerning their and my rights. I give this a resounding NO!


  9. My wife and I get up at 3:45 am every day during the week. We try to get into bed before 10pm. Our local public school is one that seems to send an excessive amount of homework home. On a few occasions they have asked our child to read us a book and then for us to comment on it in writing in their agenda book. We usually do not get home until 6:30 pm. Once we have supper it is very close to 8pm. The 60 mins of homework that the school sends hime fr my 5th grader daily takes more like 2 to 3 hours. A lot of times my wife is working with my 2 daughters at the dinner table. Anytime we have complained to the teacher we get told that it is one of the responsibilties of raising a child to do help with their homework. By the time my wife and I get home we are very tired and when you add in dinner and homework we get no family time during the week at all. It is almost like the teachers are using the parents to do work they should be doing…..Night after night we sit with our daughters trying to keep them focused and getting their homework done. It seems we are stressed out all the time from this. I feel it is ok to get a student to do a project at home once in a while but that’s not what is happening anymore. We are being used as a supplement to the failings of the teachers to properley teach the students duribg the day……


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