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For three days Governor Rick Scott warned residents to evacuate ahead of the Category 4 hurricane, grimly stating the storm was a "monster." “If you're in an evacuation area, get out," Scott said. While this teacher’s lack of judgment in a crisis was disturbing, the excessive amount and nature of homework assigned to elementary through high school students is a growing national concern.
So, over this past winter break, I did my homework, i.e., I prepared this memorandum for my child's school which included questions, observations and recommendations for improving homework practices, as well as a proposed Survey of parents, students, teachers and administrators regarding homework.
To be sure, I'm no educator but as a forensics expert, I know a little about asking probing questions to get at underlying truths.
Likewise, the individual schools, should have established homework policies, guidelines and compliance monitoring systems.
The Survey proposed in this article, if undertaken, should ensure that the policies are appropriate.
As the former Director of Compliance for a leading global money manager, I can tell you that establishing policies without procedures for monitoring compliance with those policies are as worthless in schools as on Wall Street. The standard for homework, endorsed by the National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association, is the so-called "10-minute rule" -- 10 minutes per grade level per night.
That translates into 10 minutes of homework in the first grade, 20 minutes in the second grade, all the way up to two hours for high school seniors.
Happily, our school’s national and state rankings suggest it is academically top-notch.
However, the need to closely monitor homework loads and eliminate unnecessary busy work, or even counterproductive excessive homework is perhaps more acute at a school for the arts.
Prior to crafting a winning approach to homework, however, it is necessary to understand the scope of the problem and that is precisely the goal of the Survey proposed below.
It is my understanding, based upon emails to parents from officials that our School District has “no policies on homework.