Minimize homework/screen time/exams/stress after school

Minimize homework/screen time/exams/stress after school

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Concerned Millburn Parents started this petition to Millburn Board or Education

Excessive homework and overwhelming exams assigned at MMS and MHS are regularly resulting in diminishing returns.  Students are burned out and learning has suffered. Overwhelming homework + exams are being reported at levels including standard/CPA, in addition to accelerated and AP.  

This issue is compounded with requiring students to work on Chromebooks, which is the equivalent of placing their desk in an arcade/movie theater/shopping mall/live message board and expecting them to focus.  

When parents expressed concerns, one school official's response was, "As a parent you should be sitting next to your children while they work on their computers and personally be monitoring everything they're doing. The responsibility is yours as a parent to make sure they're not clicking away from schoolwork."  Other school officials blamed students for poor time management citing they had plenty of notice, while others have said, "It's the students who are perfectionists and spend too much time on homework."  And finally, excessive homework was also blamed on a few vocal parents who demanded it.

It's time the Millburn BoE, MHS, and MMS administrations take responsibility and stop shifting blame to parents and students. 

If the schools are assigning excessive homework and overwhelming exams and forcing it all to be done on chromebooks, then the schools must also be made aware of the resulting complications and help come up with solutions.

Because homework is on computers, instead of taking 1.5-2 hours daily, it's taking double and triple the length of time because of screen fatigue and distractions available on a laptop. (Here is a Challenge Success study demonstrating excessive stress and low engagement of students studying virtually - MMS and MHS are both official partner schools). *Challenge Success is a non-profit affiliated with the Stanford University Graduate School of Education that provides schools and families with proven strategies that promote well-being and engagement with learning and rethinks the definition of "success."

If students are on screens all day for school 8:00-3:00, students are remaining on their screens an additional 2-6 hours each evening, totaling 8-12 hours on a laptop/day.  Excessive screen time is damaging to mental and physical health for many reasons and well documented scientifically  (National Institutes of Health articles referenced here includeincreased obesity and reduced sleep, eye discomfort, fatigue, blurred vision and headaches, anxiety, depression, not finishing tasks, arguing too much with caregivers, less curiosity, lower self-control, more distractibility, more difficulty making friends, self-harm, and suicidal ideations).

This petition requests the Board of Ed strictly mandates that HOMEWORK IS REDUCED at MMS and MHS and EXAMS are more manageable and LESS STRESSFUL (re: quantity of content/test + relevant test prep provided - i.e. tests without unanticipated questions). If/when homework is required, textbooks and assignments are provided by the school in hard copies with handouts printed out weekly or monthly. Assignments could then be uploaded briefly to teachers for grading. (It is understood certain assignments require a computer including essay writing, educational videos, research, or group assignments, and parents should be informed when they're necessary.)

 

 

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