Jodie Leidecker, a mother of two from Berea, Kentucky, who has been involved in the movement to save recess, wrote to tell me that she was planning to approach her Site-based decision making council (Kentucky’s schools governing boards) about a low or no homework policy. In an effort to enlist some parental support in advance, she “stood outside the car rider lines in elementary school and middle/high school and handed out copies of the fact sheet” from The Case Against Homework. Also in advance, she and a few other parents sent emails to the Board. Jodie heard back from the Principal of the Elementary School that there already was a homework policy in place.
The Policy actually turned out to be relatively decent:
- * students in Grades 1-3 could receive up to 20 minutes of homework a night
* students in Grades 4-5 could receive from 20-40 minutes of homework a night
And, the principal told her, “I will re-send the policy to our staff to remind them of the time restrictions.”
If only we could all have such success! (Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what happened at the middle and high school level.)
Here’s the email Jodie sent to the Board:
Dear Board Members,
I have recently become aware of family-friendly homework policies that many schools are implementing. I believe a policy regarding homework would be a real boon for our students, families, and staff at Berea Community. A great place to start would be a survey of parents’/children’s/teachers’ experiences with homework at BCS.
Research shows that the average school child today reports more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950’s and that children are not sleeping adequate amounts. There is little evidence that homework is beneficial in elementary school, and more than two hours in high school is detrimental as well. Homework has also been linked to childhood obesity. Also, homework is a reported stressor in relationships between parents and children, as well as between spouses! (All information is documented in The Case Against Homework by Sara Bennett, which combines information from over 180 scholarly studies of homework. It can be found at her website http://www.stophomework.com.)
Sample family-friendly policies might include the following:
1) “no-homework Wednesdays” or another day during the week that lets kids have a break midweek
2) no holiday or summer school work
3) no homework on weekends or certain weekends guaranteed no homework
4) a school homework coordinator to monitor the amount of homework given so it does not exceed maximum amount daily recommended by experts
5) no adult help required projects or assignments that don’t have demonstrated educational value-no homework for homework’s sake
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.