Step 2 in San Marino, California

In my previous blog entry, I wrote about Tracy Mason, of San Marino, California, who is organizing parents to challenge homework policies in her District. Here’s her follow-up email to parents who have expressed interest, urging them to come to the meeting, sign an online petition, and vote in the School Board election. (In The Case Against Homework you can find other samples of follow-up emails.)

from Tracy Mason

I continued to be excited about the overwhelming response to my efforts toward homework reform. I shouldn’t be surprised, however, because intuitively I knew that many parents in San Marino shared my concerns. While I recognize that we have various personal opinions and experiences related to the “homework experience”, I think we can all agree that we believe it’s time for SMUSD to evaluate the current homework policy and practices. We parents have been loyal partners with the district in the effort to provide our children with a quality education, and SMUSD owes us the respect of addressing our concerns.

The online petition is ready to sign!

Don’t forget about the meeting:

It’s very important that you make a statement by attending this meeting! My email distribution list continues to grow daily, but your presence at the meeting will really help make our point. We may have coverage by both the San Marino Tribune and the Pasadena Star News, so this is your chance to be heard! I do not anticipate meeting on a regular basis, but instead using technology to form an online advocacy group which will share information and work together toward common educational goals.

VOTE VOTE VOTE! Don’t forget, today is an important school board election. The current board members have been very receptive to listening to my concerns, and I hope that we can continue this dialog.


“In The News” – Have you seen this article “Schools Turn Down the Heat on Homework?” Originally published Jan. 19th, 2007 in The Wall Street Journal, Author Nancy Keates discusses homework policy changes that some elite schools in affluent areas are making. It’s A must read!

What the Research Says:
For a very simple but thorough discussion of current research findings related to the value of homework

What can parents do? To find out what other parents are doing to ease the homework burden:

Okay, more to come! Don’t forget to forward this email to other parents who may be interested!

2 thoughts on “Step 2 in San Marino, California

  1. You are out of your mind. There is a reason why San Marino schools are among the best in the nation. What do you suppose will happen to these children when they enter the competition of the real world?

    Home work can and should be a family bonding experience. I have a feeling that most of these complaining parents are just tired of helping their kids with the homework.


  2. Scott asserts:

    Home work can and should be a family bonding experience. I have a feeling that most of these complaining parents are just tired of helping their kids with the homework.


    Hmmm. I see. I’m just sick and tired of being with my child and helping her with her homework. That is why I resent it so much. Thanks for setting me straight. Silly me. Here I was thinking I was such an awesome parent.

    If that is the case, then why did I homeschool? If I didn’t want to help my daughter learn, why was I suddenly taking on her entire curriculum? In 8th grade! Okay, we bought three on-line courses. From Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, mind you. But I, in tandem with my child and husband, researched, read and spoke to loads of people before finally selecting and paying for these distance education courses. If the primary reason I hate homework is because I wish to be less involved, not more, why would I go to all that trouble? Surely I could have just left my daughter in public school where the decisions are all made neatly for us, not only what happens at school but what happens at my kitchen table.

    You are wrong, dear pal. My husband and I adore our child. I wanted to homeschool (and dragged a skeptical husband along) because we wanted MORE involvement in our daughter’s education, not less. Initially I was resentful. School wasn’t meeting our needs. Why should i have to pay taxes to educate other people’s kids when I was taking my child out. Yes, we’d moved to the best school, but all that meant was better teachers and slightly better assignments. The burdens remained the same, only worse now because it was middle school. Sleep deprivation and homework overload were our major concerns and homeschooling eliminated both those major stressors. Houdini couldn’t have done it better.

    It wasn’t an easy year. But I wouldn’t trade those field trips, three hour history discussions at the dinner table, poetry we read together, marine biology expeditions, classical concerts and books, books, books for all the water in the Atlantic. Surely you jest when you suggest we just don’t want to help our kids. More often than not, my daughter really didn’t need our help anyway. She was just tired and bored and we couldn’t find a way to tighten it up so we could get more family time.

    Oh, by the way, Homework is spelled homework, no space between the two words. Perhaps you need more of it for practice.



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