Reassess the District 65 Homework Policy
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Homework brings a number of challenges for many families and research shows that there are fewer and fewer benefits. We all share the same goal of wanting well-rounded, well-rested, academically prepared children in our community, families, and schools.
There are many trade-offs for families on the weekends and evenings. There is an ever-growing medical consensus about the importance of sufficient sleep for growing brains. Many children have enrichment activities and sports. Other children love to read, write, draw, and play -- all important in a child's growth and development. Children also need some un-programmed time to develop creativity and appreciate solitude. Evening family time is also critical for relationships between parents and children, as well as between siblings. For many families, these challenges, as well as work and childcare, make homework just one priority among many. There are myriad additional reasons why homework creates additional disharmony for many families, as well as between students and teachers. Childhood is a short period of life and we should ensure that we are prioritizing the right things for families.
Importantly, there is also the potential for homework to create further racial and socioeconomic disparities for students. We should ensure that any district policy does not further perpetuate academic disparities.
A growing number of school districts are abandoning homework altogether, but there are hybrid approaches in yet other districts too. With the exception of special projects, this may include: eliminating homework from primary and/or secondary grades, changing the definition of what counts as homework (e.g., reading, sports, or other enrichment), or assigning as homework unfinished classwork.
We request that the School Board clearly identify the learning goals homework is expected to fulfill. Next, we request assessment of the academic literature (i.e., conduct a literature review) and ensure that the District 65 homework policy is consistent with best practices.
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