PG Parents Demand Administrative Procedure on the Assignment of Homework (AP No. 6154) be updated without Delay.

sasscer1A petition has been launched by Meredith Kaunitz and supported by PG Parents. It calls for the Administrative Procedure on the Assignment of Homework (AP No. 6154) in Prince George’s County be updated. The current document has never been updated since 1983. The petition is directed at the following individuals: Dr. Goldson, CEO of PGCPS, Shauna Garlington Battle, Esq., General Counsel of PGCPS, Segun Eubanks, Chair of School Board of PGCPS. By the time of publishing this post, the petition had already generated more than 42 signatures. 

Homework has a long and surprisingly controversial history in the United States. Those who argue in favor of homework see it as a way to ensure practice and mastery of critical academic skills as well as a key way for parents to stay informed about their children’s education. Those who criticize homework suggest it may lead to boredom and keep children from participating in useful leisure and community activities. While there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the debate, surveys show that parents overwhelmingly support homework because it gives them a way to monitor the quality of their children’s education.

BACKGROUND
Research shows that the benefits of homework are more evident at the high school level than at the elementary or middle school level (Cooper, 1989). There is little question that parental involvement in homework has a strong positive effect (Van Voorhis, 2003; Xu, 2004). In fact, some research suggests that parental involvement in homework has a more powerful influence on achievement than either social class or the parents’ own educational level. While parents may be tempted to throw up their hands when their children resist homework or lack the skills to do it, school success may depend on parents’ willingness to help overcome obstacles to homework completion.

However, without structure, Parents as well as students often feel somewhat at the mercy of schools, teachers and homework assignments. One thing many parents have on their side is knowing their children. You know if he or she can find the time and complete their assignments on their own, or if they could use some structure.

By providing choices on the school district level, the school district and parents working together provide a measure of control for students and their families. Parents cannot control what the assignment is or how much work they will be given, but they can control how they will respond.

REASONABLE HOMEWORK EXPECTATIONS
It is generally agreed that children are expected to devote increasingly more time to homework as they get older. A general rule of thumb that is easy to remember is the expectation that children do 10 minutes of homework for each grade level (Henderson, 1996). Thus, first graders would be expected to do about 10 minutes of homework, second graders 20 minutes, third graders 30 minutes, and so on. If your child is spending more than 10 minutes per grade level on work at night, then you may want to talk with your child’s teacher about adjusting the workload.

WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Parents can help children succeed with homework by providing clear messages about the importance of homework and specific support strategies. Parents can also get involved in petitions such as this one for proper adjustments.

Here is the petition as presented on actionnetwork.org

Did you know the Administrative Procedure on the Assignment of Homework (AP No. 6154) has not been updated since 1983?

County-wide parents are having unnecessary conflicts with their teachers, Principals and schools over homework load. We can fix this with 3 simple changes to the Administrative Procedure. The changes are based on evidence-based research completed over the past 35 years and are designed to be helpful for everybody: parents, students, teachers and Principals. Learn more about the reasoning behind them here.

The proposed changes are:

  • Change procedure IV.B.10 to read: The length of time required to perform all homework assignments from all teachers on a given day should not exceed 10 minutes multiplied by the grade. This means 1st graders will not be expected to work on homework for more than 10 minutes each night, 2nd graders 20 minutes, etc.
  • Add a procedure that states: Teachers must provide, in writing, a homework accommodation for any student (with or without an IEP or 504 plan) whose parent reports that the assignments are taking the student longer than the upper limit.
  • Add a procedure that states: Homework is not required to be assigned if the teacher feels there is no benefit to their students based on their particular teaching strategies, even in cases where a percentage of the teacher’s grading requirements is dedicated to homework. A teacher may exempt all of his/her students from homework grades.

These simple changes will set teachers, parents and administrators free from the constant and unnecessary conflict over homework. They give teachers more freedom to customize their teaching strategies while ensuring parents’ and students’ rights to have reasonable and effective homework assignments are codified.

We reprint the letter from PG Parents forwarded to Dr. Goldson CEO of PGCPS, Shauna Garlington Battle, Esq., General Counsel of PGCPS, Segun Eubanks, Chair of School Board of PGCPS demanding immediate actions below.

From: [Your Name]

We are residents of Prince Georges County, parents of PGCPS students, and teacher/staff of PGCPS. We ask you to change the official homework policy in order to help us prevent unnecessary conflict over homework that has plagued our county for decades. The homework policy has not been updated since 1983, ignoring 35 years of evidence-based research findings.

We ask you to make the following changes to Administrative Procedure No. 6154, Assignment of Homework:

* Change procedure IV.B.10 to read: The length of time required to perform all homework assignments from all teachers on a given day should not exceed 10 minutes multiplied by the grade. This means 1st graders will not be expected to work on homework for more than 10 minutes each night, 2nd graders 20 minutes, etc.

* Add a procedure that states: Teachers must provide, in writing, a homework accommodation for any student (with or without an IEP or 504 plan) whose parent reports that the assignments are taking the student longer than the upper limit.

* Add a procedure that states: Homework is not required to be assigned if the teacher feels there is no benefit to their students based on their particular teaching strategies, even in cases where a percentage of the teacher’s grading requirements is dedicated to homework. A teacher may exempt all of his/her students from homework grades.

These simple changes will set teachers, parents and administrators free from the constant and unnecessary conflict over homework. They give teachers more freedom to customize their teaching strategies while ensuring parents’ and students’ rights to have reasonable and effective homework assignments are codified.

Please take immediate action to help us prevent unnecessary conflict over homework.

Prince_Georges_Co_Introduces_Interim_Schools_CEO

Monica Goldson Interim CEO of PGCPS

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Segun Eubanks, Chair of School Board of PGCPS

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Shauna Garlington Battle, Esq., General Counsel of PGCPS

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