The Los Angeles Unified School District has decided that giving out homework assignments is too much of a burden for its mostly low income minority students. Their new policy is that homework can only count for 10% of a student’s grade.
Vanessa Perez was a homework scofflaw. The Marshall High School senior didn’t finish all of it — largely because she worked 24 hours a week at a Subway sandwich shop.
Alvaro Ramirez, a junior at the Santee Education Complex, doesn’t have his own room and his mother baby-sits young children at night. “They’re always there and they’re always loud,” he said, explaining his challenges with homework.
Haven’t these kids ever heard of libraries?
The nation’s second-largest school system has decided to give students like these a break. A new policy decrees that homework can count for only 10% of a student’s grade.
Never mind that many teachers object to this new policy, the L.A Unified School District doesn’t care.
But Los Angeles Unified is pressing forward, joining a growing list of school districts across the country that are taking on homework — including Fontana and Pleasanton, N.J. In many districts, limits are being placed on the amount of homework so students can spend more time with their families or pursue extracurricular activities like sports or hobbies. The competition to get into top colleges has left students anxious and exhausted, with little free time, parents complain.
Exactly what competition to get into top colleges are they talking about? Judging by the disdain these kids have for homework, any college that admits them would most likely be on the basis of affirmative action. Also, since when are hobbies more important than doing well in school? And shouldn’t these parents be happy that their kids are (supposedly) working hard to try and get into schools?
Anyway, moving on…
According to the new policy, “Varying degrees of access to academic support at home, for whatever reason, should not penalize a student so severely that it prevents the student from passing a class, nor should it inflate the grade.” It was distributed to schools last month.
Veronica Castro, a Santee junior, cooks and cleans for her family. She also shares a room with her sister, who likes to watch television. Another TV blares in the living room next door: “Sometimes homework is the last thing I have to do instead of the first.”
Again, whatever happened to the good old library?
Santee science teacher Cesar Alcaraz said he already takes students’ home environments into consideration and hopes the policy will curb poor homework practices by teachers.
Homework should not be used to punish or reward; grades should be based on learning so that it “accurately represents what a student knows and is able to do,” the policy says. Grades should not be based on how students attain knowledge “nor [on] their behavior, attitude, effort or attendance.”
Uh, helloooo! How is the teacher to determine how well students are learning without homework?
I think the real reason the administrators are doing this is not to have the little darlings mutiny against their teachers.
Compliance is already a problem. In non-honors classes, teachers said they were fortunate if 50% of students did their homework.
Here’s what some of the students who seem to have little interest in learning, have to say about doing homework:
“By the time I got to that assignment, at 2 in the morning, I found it irrelevant, tedious and not worth doing,” said junior Israel Hipolito. “I got high scores on tests but a lower grade because of the coloring assignment.”
“I do my homework, but I don’t do it too often,” said Marshall junior Lexus Bailey, whose schedule includes honors classes. “I’ll tell myself I’m going to do my homework, then I don’t.”
“It’s a waste of time and a poor reflection of whether I’m learning the subject,” said Marshall senior Manny Hernandez, who is developing his own janitorial business outside of school hours. “And it’s so easy to copy other students’ homework, it’s ridiculous.”