Speaking of Parents...
CNN has an article in their Education section about homework. Many teachers have given in to the no homework movement started by the generation of parents who coddle their children because, oh my, we don't want him to feel bad. Now, my own experience in high school was that I could finish most of my work during my study hall. The rest I would take home and do. I hated busy work, but the mindless, time occupying assignments were handled easily. Today, students have many more options fo mindless, time occupying activities. I had my baseball cards and the Summer Olympics floppy disk for my Apple II C. I was really good at the BMX biking, but not so good at the surfing--typical for an East Coast boy.
There are some helpful hints for parents; unfortunately, I have the suspicion that the people who read CNN.com already do many of the ideas. But my favorite part of the article was reading about Sara Bennett of Brooklyn, New York who is co-authoring the book The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It. She says, "Homework was interfering with my kids' intellectual development," then adding, "To stop to practice spelling when your kid is reading a book is ridiculous." First, I'm not sure why she would stop to practice spelling when her kid is reading a book. The real issue is, why is it ridiculous? Oh, that's right, because her kids are brilliant, and brilliant people don't need to practice. Seriously, just ask Tiger Woods. I bet he doesn't ever stop to practice putting because he is a pro golfer. (sorry, I'm being petty; I'll stop.)
It is the parent like Ms. Bennet that has created a problem for me. Her attitude about homework carries over to what is done in the classroom. Essays are interfering with my kids' intellectual development. I mean, to make them write a one page response when your kid has already passed the state test is ridiculous. And furthermore, to make my kids' turn in assignments when they've already turned thousands in before getting to your class is outlandish.
Listen, I'm sure Ms. Bennet is a very nice woman. She clearly is looking out for her kids, and that's great. But removing homework from the classroom, at least, removing effective homework, is ridiculous. (Shades of Bill O'Reilly)