Bay Area School Districts Consider New Homework Policies

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – School districts around the Bay Area are considering new policies to protect students from excessive amounts of homework.

Research has found that the intense pressure to achieve, coupled with hours of nightly homework, can lead to poor mental and physical health.

Stanford School of Education Senior Lecturer Denise Pope said this is a culture that’s putting a lot of pressure on kids.

“And this is not a little bit of stress. What we’re finding is there’s a pronounced difference to the type of stress, particularly academic pressures on kids these days.”

KCBS’ Rebecca Coral:

Pope said some parents push their kids hard so that they’ll get into the best colleges, a focus that can start as early as elementary school.

“More and more kids are feeling pressured to take more advanced placement and honor classes so that they can be more competitive on their college applications,” said Pope.

“And that is different from ten, twenty years ago when people were competing. It’s a whole different level.”

Pope added that many overworked and over stressed children are sleep deprived and experience higher levels of eating disorders and depression.

She said these students feel alienated, thinking all their parents care about are their grades.

“Parents kind of say there’s nothing they can do. The school is giving out all this homework. But there are really a lot of things parents can do to really look at how to make sure they’re supporting their child and letting them know they’re loved unconditionally,” she said.

Many Bay Area school districts are beginning to address the amount of homework they give to their students.

Some are beginning to implement no-homework weekends.

Others are considering policies that no more than 10% of a student’s grade can be based on homework.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Rebecca Corral
  • Traci

    I am glad to read that finally someone is doing something about this. My son in 5th grade had 4 hours of homework on many nights. I know a lot of high school students that have very little time to do anything because of mass amounts of homework. It’s just crazy!

  • Jay Vee

    This sounds way to FISHY! This of lowering the STANDARDS so less educated kids can “FEEL” inclueded has started in other counties and other States. You know what they say “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” Teachers are not teaching the basics in class and have little time for Students to make sure they understand the material. Also is this something being pushed by Unions to benifit the teachers and their positions? This needs to be looked into deeply before a knee jerk policy is put in place. “OUR” kids now are not prepared for College now, what will happen to them after this program takes effect? Also many programs that are failures are not thrown after they just keep feeding them more tax dollars with ZERO results. Common sense doesn’t seem to be the method to get results but rather “FEEL GOOD POLICIES” regardless of the consequences….be careful of what they push on our children.

    • DN

      Your grammar and spelling indicate maybe you should have had more homework when attending school…

      • sumday

        grammar has but 1 purpose to convey a thought from a writer to a reader- as long as one can understand what is written the entire purpose of grammar is accomplished and everything else is trivial. Spelling is the same- meaningless comments. Now I’ll put my math and science skills against your trivial grammar and spelling skills any day. What has furthered the world more math/science or grammar/spelling? Those who comment on such things as grammar/spelling remind me of that old alone single person with 10 cats that just can’t seem to fit into society so they post comments about such trivial things on these boards.

  • JoetheSFRepublican

    How about doing away with the idiotic policy of making kids go to schools in other districts, for the sake of diversity. It’s crazy, that alone would save most of these children 2 hours of commute time each day. And save tax payers thousands a year on this bad social experiment. It may not solve all problems with our city schools, but it would be a step in the right direction.

    • Maria

      Sound like a ploy for segregation, Are you from the DIRTY SOUTH?

    • donovan

      Agreed, Joe. It doesn’t make sense. Kids should go to the school that is nearest to their own homes. However, you live in SF and you just have to contend with political correctness.

  • kathy

    Jay Vee needs to spend some time in a classroom, and needs to have some conversations with teachers. Homework policies do not mean that teachers are not teaching the basics, and unions have nothing to with homework policies. Learn something about the standards that must be taught with limited resources because the state keeps cutting funding before making your own “knee jerk” reaction about homework policies. Educate yourself about California education.

  • Jackie

    As a teacher, I disagree with hours of homework especially in the elementary years. It’s pointless to give 15 math problems, 2 chapters of reading, 1 5-page essay, and whatever else… takes the fun out of learning and as everyone knows, if you’re not interested then you won’t care to remember it for later. My school doesn’t have the traditional homework policy, and the students are very successful and for the most part, happy.

  • Janet

    Homework should be reasonable. It is an effective way for students to practice and become more proficient in the skills they learn in the classroom. It can also be informative — if students struggle with a piece of homework, the teacher knows that the information or skill needs to be retaught. But any discussion of stressed and sleep deprived students has to include a nod to the many hours spent at extra-curricular activities many students participate in — games and practices that take place into the early evening and push homework time to later hours. Add in some after school snacking and decompressing, and it makes for a very long day. Homework is not necessarily the bad guy — perhaps better time management and a resetting of priorities would be helpful.

    • Sara

      Agree with Janet, reasonable amount of homework can help parents & teachers to understand which area a student may need more help on. But, what is reasonable amount of homework? My middle schooler can finish his homework by 9 pm after his evening baseball practice while his classmate stay up till 11 pm with no after school activities. To make a difference, my son will put away his cell phone, iPod during homework time but his classmate keeping all the devices with chat room page opened on computer. Better time management & parental supervision would help.

  • Miss Dee

    This is a tough topic. For one, I’m all for kids being happy and well adjusted. On another hand, it’s disturbing how under prepared many of our schools are leaving our children for higher education – especially here in the Bay Area. I agree with Janet – homework may not necessarily be the bad guy. How do we explain it when in a recent article it stated that the vast majority of international applicants to the Cal State system had a PERFECT score on the math portion of their entrance exams? Perhaps we need to start borrowing some tips from these countries to rebuild our educational system?

  • Donna Lusciousdc Sayles-Corbin

    No wonder our children are behind every country but Mexico when it comes to education. Quit coddling these kids. Homework NEVER killed past generations so why all the concern now. So they will have more time to play and find thins to get into? YOU’RE ONLY HURTING OUR KIDS; NOT HELPING!

  • sumday

    We live in a global time and I’m sure China’s students/parents are not backing down. I had a lot of homework in HS to and still made it through just fine. I’m surprised that students/parents are complaing about this. We rank low in world acadimics and some of you people are saying our kids are to stressed out at that?!? Just what do you people do for work bc most of us are pulling60-80hr work weeks and your whinning about your kids having to do a few hours of HW a night? Wait till they get to the real world and have to work those hours instead.

  • jerry

    YOu don’t see other countries, especially in Asia, complaining about this. That is a big reason there is a gap in education between the U.S.A and other countries.

    • sumday

      couldn’t agree more- but it’s the bay area where they concern themselves more with feel good idea policies instead of result policies.

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