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Palo Alto Parents Group Wants Less Homework For Overstressed Students

PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Some Palo Alto parents want the school district to take immediate action to address academic stress among high school students. The group is called “We Can Do Better Palo Alto,” and was formed after four Gunn High School students committed suicide in 2009.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The Palo Alto school district last summer released a report titled ‘Project Safety Net,’ which specifically mentions looking at homework volume and an implementation of a faculty advisory system to promote connections between students and teachers. However, Michele Dauber, who started We Can Do Better, along with her husband Ken, said action was never taken.

“Why wouldn’t you want to implement programs that will increase the social and emotional health of our kids?” asked Dauber.

Gunn is ranked one of the nation’s best high schools, but Dauber said that it comes at a price. A district survey found more than a third of high school students reported feeling extremely stressed by the amount of homework they get on a routine basis.

“If you have pressure to increase test scores then you see homework go up,” said Dauber. “Or if you feel that college admission has become more competitive, then you see a homework increase, extracurriculars go way up, and you see more tutoring and more private classes.”

District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Skelly said some supportive measures have been implemented, and more are on the way.

“We have a process that we use here in terms of setting goals and working through them, and I think that our process has been well thought out,” said Skelly.

The Daubers’ group meets once a month.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • discussorama

    I went to Palo Alto schools and graduated with honors. I subsequently found UCLA to be much, much easier by comparison.

    • Addison_Mom

      I went to Gunn as well, but Gunn is a much tougher school now, academically, than it was a few years ago — and it becomes increasingly competitive, driven by parents who place high emphasis on test scores.

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