South Florida schools debate volume of homework

Ask a class full of eighth-graders at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School how many hours of homework they receive each night and hear as many responses as there are students. Full Story
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aaa

Chicago, IL

#1 Mar 19, 2009
a..
Ooo la la

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#2 Mar 19, 2009
Extracurricular activities = video games, meeting your buddies/loitering at the local 7-Eleven, and/or getting high.
Derek

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#3 Mar 19, 2009
Ooo la la wrote:
Extracurricular activities = video games, meeting your buddies/loitering at the local 7-Eleven, and/or getting high.
Which are all at least as effective, if not better, in teaching kids useful skills for their adult lives as what our school system puts them through. They already spend 90% of their time in school preparing for the useless FCAT test, learning about irrelevant literature and mathematical equations no one this side of NASA ever uses. Why have them continue to waste their time at home?
After high school you work 50 years, and if your lucky, you hobble around for a few more decades before you get to move into a nice cushy box in the ground. Kids deserve every last minute of free time we can give them.
parent

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#4 Mar 19, 2009
lazy parents = lazy kids
Our schools rewards mediocre work. just found out that the passing score on the SAT for kids to graduate to second grade was 30%!! My daughter is averaging 95% on the practice tests. I feel sorry for kids today.
Mike P

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#5 Mar 19, 2009
As a former teacher... Homework is often more a measure of parent work than children's work. I used to be amazed at how many parents actually did the work for their kids. The other issue I see as a parent is when teachers don't enforce it being done but yet they will assign hours of it or assign it to be done in class. Most kids even know when it doesn't count so they don't do it. Can homework help in repetitive learning? Most definitely. Is it useful in our current education system the way it is? not really.
Angela in Bothell WA

Pittsburgh, PA

#6 Mar 19, 2009
Dr John Medina, author of the book 'Brain Rules', says that if we wanted to design the worst possible learning environment & working environments for humans, they would be public schools and corporate workplaces.
Homework is valuable only because, and precisely because, it provides repetition of things viewed earlier in the day, usually rushed through because of the sheer volume of stuff that must be presented (even if, honestly, it will never be touched again after Friday's test.)
However, if a child isn't getting enough sleep, then the child cannot learn properly. It isn't a matter of "being tough" or "not being lazy" or "When I was a kid, you got up at 6 am, milked the cows, walked five miles to school uphill in the snow, came home, cut wood for the fire <...> got to bed at midnight and my grades were FINE."
The brain can't function properly without enough sleep. Read 'Brain Rules'. Forcing more "education" on kids, resulting in inadequate sleep, is not going to give you the results you want.
Also see:'Snooze or Lose: Can a lack of sleep set back your child's cognitive abilities?' http://nymag.com/news/features/38951/
ME4ME

West Palm Beach, FL

#7 Mar 19, 2009
The world needs ditch diggers.
Apock

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#8 Mar 19, 2009
Today's kids and parents are doing themselves a disservice by simply complaining about the volume of homework. It is intereting that private school students routinely have 2-4 hours of homework every night. Their parents don't complain because they know that if they don't like it, they can leave.

If these public school students can't compete against private school educated and foreign educated students, they may find themselves locked out of the popular state universities.
Paul

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#9 Mar 19, 2009
Most of the high schoolers I taught before leaving at a local public high school stayed out all night and slept in the class.

I did not interrupt them sleeping as they "exploded". If I sent them to the office for such reactive behavior they were counseled and sent back to the room where they went to sleep again.

So I cruised after a while as the other teacher told me to do in that school. There are many schools like the one I taught at. I became a firefighter. It took me several years of waiting to get into the academy and boy is it a real profession not a babysitting one where the fear of lawsuits run through the school system.

About 25 percent of the students actually give a darn about their grades. Most simply shrug their shoulder if I told them they were getting an F.

This single parent home is a complete disaster. So are many marriages with fathers and mothers acting like the kids themselves.
Aaron in Cambridge MA

Cambridge, MA

#10 Mar 19, 2009
This is an interesting article. I was home schooled and then went through Nova Middle and Nova High. In high school, I got less sleep than I did as an undergraduate in college. One reason for the lack of sleep was the homework and great education I received in high school. Doing my homework was preparation for college, and I'm glad I did it.
I could see time limits as a good thing for students through middle school in an effort to avoid busy work assignments and permit healthy extracurricular activities. However, I don't know if it's a good idea for school districts to put time limits on homework high school students receive for a few reasons:
1. Different students work at different rates. Are teachers supposed to pass out surveys to see how long their assignments take? Quantifying the time high school students spend is going to very difficult.
2. Highly motivated students bring the load upon themselves. A student who voluntarily signs up to take 5 AP classes is asking for more work than a student who takes no AP classes. AP classes are supposed to be college level courses, and you can imagine that no college professor is going to be asking his/her students how long the assignments are taking them. So, a suffering student needs options to be able to switch classes if the load becomes too great, while the very bright students can take on more work to satiate their appetite for knowledge.
3. We live in a global economy and you can bet the high school aged students in Asia/India do not have time limits to their homework assignments. Teachers should offer their students the best learning environments/opportunities possible, so that they can compete for the best jobs. Students should choose whether or not they take the opportunities.
4. If students know they are only supposed to have a certain amount of homework every night, how will parents get them to excel when they call it quits after they have served their time but yet not finished their assignments?
Now, I probably sound like a slave driver, but I believe education is very important to the rise of the next generation and the future of society. Students need to graduate high school with some basic skills. Setting a time limit to the amount of time they should expect to have to work to receive A grades is not going to prepare them for real-world problems and difficulties.
That said, I hope students and parents will monitor their own health as they attempt to complete assignments and prepare for the rest of their lives. As our recent economic times show, deregulation or operating without limits can be extremely hazardous.
Aaron
yikes

Miami, FL

#11 Mar 19, 2009
Wow, that is the most stupid thing I have read in a very, very long time. You have managed, in one short paragraph, to ignore the merit of literature AND mathematics, and to say kids need 'every spare minute' of free time 'we can spare them.' That is amazing.
What kids need is to be cultured, well-read, capable of critical thinking, and disciplined...so that they have a chance to survive in that real world out there, where bosses don't collaborate to make sure their employees don't have too much work, and where there are things like downsizing and frivolous lawsuits. Just because they are going to die someday, as you flippantly point out, doesn't mean that, in the meantime, they should not be taught the enjoyment of literature, the appreciation of history, and the merits of civics, so that they can actually be politically LITERATE someday and won't be made fools of for the rest of their lives until they get into their 'cushy boxes.' Amazing. If it were up to you, all kids would just sit around and play video games all day--as if that would make for happy adults someday.
Derek wrote:
<quoted text>
Which are all at least as effective, if not better, in teaching kids useful skills for their adult lives as what our school system puts them through. They already spend 90% of their time in school preparing for the useless FCAT test, learning about irrelevant literature and mathematical equations no one this side of NASA ever uses. Why have them continue to waste their time at home?
After high school you work 50 years, and if your lucky, you hobble around for a few more decades before you get to move into a nice cushy box in the ground. Kids deserve every last minute of free time we can give them.
NPR

Boca Raton, FL

#12 Mar 19, 2009
parent wrote:
lazy parents = lazy kids
Our schools rewards mediocre work. just found out that the passing score on the SAT for kids to graduate to second grade was 30%!! My daughter is averaging 95% on the practice tests. I feel sorry for kids today.
Actually have you seen that test? I don't know if they changed it but the one my daughter took had many questions that did not pertain to today's life. For example, 4 photos may have shown a record player, a lightbulb, an oven & a refrigerator and asked, "which one of these plays music"? How many kids today would have gotten the record player correct?

Another example is, "What would you do if you stayed home sick", and the photos were outside playing, a little TV with rabbit ears, a movie theater screen with people watching in the background and going to the park. Many kids chose the movie theater picture due to their big screen TV at home.

Here's another. A picture showed a light socket and kids were asked what it was. Most kids answered plug and got it wrong. The correct answer was socket. How many 1st graders know that one?

If they changed that test, they need to raise the pass percentage. However if they didn't change that test, they can't exactly expect the kids to answer many of those questions correctly.
Kim

Boca Raton, FL

#13 Mar 19, 2009
My kindergarten son brings home 12 pages of homework each week...he gets it on a Monday, to be completed by Friday morning. We do it, and he enjoys it...for now. Do I think it's too much??? Only if we procrastinate and don't do it in a timely manner. Put your big boy panties on, South Florida. Do the homework and pray our kids can compete with our Northern counterparts. By the way, my son has a learning disability, and he STILL completes all his homework.

Since: Aug 08

AOL

#14 Mar 19, 2009
One can only hope that extra homework will cause SOME parents to be sure their kids actually DO their homework. MOST ALL parents these days don't gove a F*** about their kids OR their kids doinmg homework. Let's hope this works out for the best. Parents these days need to wake the HELL up and follow up on their OWN kids. DAMN!

Since: Aug 08

AOL

#15 Mar 19, 2009
Kim wrote:
My kindergarten son brings home 12 pages of homework each week...he gets it on a Monday, to be completed by Friday morning. We do it, and he enjoys it...for now. Do I think it's too much??? Only if we procrastinate and don't do it in a timely manner. Put your big boy panties on, South Florida. Do the homework and pray our kids can compete with our Northern counterparts. By the way, my son has a learning disability, and he STILL completes all his homework.
Good for YOU and your CHILD! YOU are in a low percentage of parents who ACTUALLY give a damn. Hopefully, YOU will be an inspiration to other South Florida parents :)....Hopefully!
Rose Bush

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#16 Mar 20, 2009
Parents are lazy and they are, inadvertently or not, leading their kids to be the same way.
School homework is the best way to emphasize to kids what they should have learned in school that day or that week.
If they can't do it, then they haven't learned it and they need to be coached some more on that area. And that's when parents should come along and step up, but alas, that's obviously too much work.
Kids in this country have a light school day compared with other countries. Maybe that's why our ranking in education keeps getting lower from year to year. While other nations are shaping students we are cranking out athletes, whiners and kids who are really good at text messaging.
RED BARON

Boca Raton, FL

#17 Mar 20, 2009
Something doesn't add up. If today's kids have too much homework then why are they dumb as a box of rocks? Many cannot read or complete simple math problems or even point out major US states on a map.
Lean On Me

United States

#18 Mar 20, 2009
As a teacher I can already tell which way the Broward County School System and it's politically correct leadership will go. Now they will be telling teachers how much homework to give and when. Rather then taking a stand for all the talk of education standards and reform, they'll bow to the few complaining parents. It was a joke to see Notter screaming enough is enough in Tallahasse. Yet the minute a complaining parent calls his office, we change the whole system. This is one more step toward the dumbing down of America. Our children will not be able to take the pressure in the real world, and the emerging market countries will dominate the economic landscape.
david

Jensen Beach, FL

#19 Mar 20, 2009
The more homework a child gets, the better off they will be in college and life.
Sally

Miami, FL

#20 Mar 20, 2009
These two paragraphs stuck out:

Donna Rosier, of Coral Springs, said her daughter regularly stays up until 12:30 a.m. doing homework for her seven high school advanced placement and honors courses.

"There have been times I've let her skip first and second hours because at 4 a.m. she was still doing homework," Rosier said in an e-mail to the School Board. "One of her friends got into a car accident on the way to school a few weeks ago — she pulled an 'all niter' doing homework the nite before."

Give me a break! I have no sympathy for this teenager. No one forced her daughter to take all of those classes; she chose to enroll in AP and honors courses. Advanced Placement are supposed to be college-level classes, with an enormous amount of reading. Teachers have to cover a certain amount of material to prepare their students for College-Board written exams. Students are making the choice to load up on these classes! Their parents might argue that their precious little babies need all of these classes in order to get into the BEST colleges. Well, you know what? You should investigate how many hours of homework the high school students in Massachusetts and New York have to do. Why should you Florida high schools students get a break when other students have to do the work. The AP teachers have to maintain respectable passing rates in order to keep their jobs, so cutting back on homework will make it more difficult for students to pass the tests. Also, a lot of these kids are taking classes like AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, and AP Economics and Government. News Flash: Colleges and universities don't think much of those classes, and many of the top universities won't give you credit for passing the AP Economics and Government exam. So offering some of these classes at the AP level seems like a waste. Besides, a lot of AP teachers I have met over the years say that the system has turned into a test-prep process, with little room for going beyond the College-Board prescribed curriculum. I know I'm going to be hit with a bunch of comments from AP teachers who disagree. They will argue that the aforementioned AP courses are valuable, that colleges care about those classes, and on and on and on. Well, you are entitled to your opinions. So I welcome the responses.

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