Forty parents in Davis, California, sent their new Superintendent of Schools the following welcoming lettter. As a result, the Superintendent scheduled a meeting to discuss homework.
Dear Mr. Superintendent,
Welcome to your new position as Superintendent. I know you have many policy matters to assess, and we, the undersigned parents, believe that one of them should be the district homework policy. We would like to meet with you at your earliest possible convenience to discuss two main points.
1. Most importantly, we believe that the homework policy that exists is flawed and needs to be revisited. The current maximum levels of homework allowed are so onerous as to be destructive of children’s physical and mental health. We are damaging our children’s love of learning by occupying far too many hours after a full day of school with further academic requirements. Children need balanced lives; they need to sleep, often 9-11 hours a night. They need to be physically active, to participate in the responsibilities of family life, to enjoy friendships, and free unscheduled time. 2-4 hours of homework each night and homework on weekends will make even highly motivated, conscientious students bored, frustrated and exhausted. Recent articles and books cite examples of high achieving communities that have “turned down the heat on homework” to good effect. We want to see Davis join their ranks.
2. The homework policy that exists is not publicized adequately. It, or a link to the website that contains it, should be included in the back to school packets that go home with every student at the beginning of the school year. Procedures for addressing infractions of the policy should be included. This is necessary because the policy is frequently ignored and there does not seem to be any enforcement or oversight in place to ensure that it is followed.
Thank you for your attention and we look forward to hearing from you.