Reading this article Never Mind the Students; Homework Divides Parents I found myself supporting, Jane Hsu’s program “PDF,” or “Playtime, Downtime And Family-time.” I often tell parents/guardians “Life is not going be about standardized tests and all things learned in academia. Schools are not there to raise your children. They are there to be a part of your village or circle of support.” I applaud this school for banning mandatory traditional homework assignments. Rather than filling out worksheets, students are encouraged to engaging in after-school activities and read nightly.
I am not buying Ms. Sierra’s argument in the following paragraph: “Ashley Sierra, an executive assistant and a single mother with three children at the school, said the policy had created an unwelcome burden on her and other less affluent families that could not afford extra workbooks or software programs to supplement the new policy. I hate it.”
I am also unsure how this plan is “economically and racially insensitive”? A number of schools have put in hours of thought on how this would affect lower income students. The school’s website includes handwriting exercises, scientific articles, and math and reading lessons. Many public libraries have also gotten in on this initiative by blocking off computer time for families and children, having supplemental books on shelves, and allowing individuals to make several free copies if a child receives free or reduced lunch.
This is a great reform to homework. It serves as a good way for parents to observe their children’s progress and to teach young people that learning doesn’t happen only inside a classroom. The changes give students time to discover the things they are “really passionate about.” School principle Rebecca Fagin sums it when she says, “Keep it ‘feasible’, ‘meaningful’, and ‘reasonable’,” and that to me is doable with school libraries, public library systems, and understanding that schools are not there to raise one’s child. They are there to be a part of your village or circle of support.