N.J. High School Adopts ‘No Homework For Holidays’ Policy

Ridgewood Decides Stressed Out Students Deserve A True Break

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2) — Homework during the winter recess, many school districts assign it. But one New Jersey high school that has been plagued by a series of tragedies wants to give students a break during break.

Is it a good idea?

It has been a stressful year for students at Ridgewood High School. Former student Tyler Clementi committed suicide while attending Rutgers University and another student took her own life.

So faculty members are trying out a pilot program to help kids relieve stress. They won’t be assigning homework during winter break.

“I’m glad they decided it because a lot of people are just pulling all-nighters, consistently trying to complete homework,” sophomore Michael Nehring told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

“I really think it’s the stress and everything and I know teenagers in general, high schoolers aren’t getting enough sleep,” sophomore Steven Chiesa said.

The superintendent said the district got the idea from an educational film.

In neighboring Paramus students said some teachers are giving homework, while others are not.

One student said she could use a break during break.

“You just kind of need time to relax and re-collect yourself,” she said.

But other students said they aren’t too sure.

“For the AP classes, not such a hot idea because the AP standards don’t change. You have to take the test in May. You have to keep working during break,” Amanda Kabbabi said.

Several psychologists and a former teacher told Sloan kids need stress-free time during their vacations.

“Let them enjoy themselves. They have long-term projects. They just started them a week ago and we’ll finish in a week after the holidays are over. No harm,” former teacher Jackie Price said.

“It’s a great idea. Give kids a break during the holidays. Everyone has too much pressure. Let them relax … and lets the parents relax, too,” parent Bill Duggan said.

The school has also told teachers not to assign an unusual amount of work the week after break. Ridgewood schools officials said they are going easy the week after break because they don’t want to sabotage their pilot program.

More from Christine Sloan
  • Olivia

    Personally I agree to put less homework every day. Some schools out there are putting A LOT of pressure on kids. Mixed in with all the after-school activities and homework, they have no time for a walk in the park or some family time. What has this world become? :(

  • Hui

    Homeworks don’t really help for elementary school students. I used to attend a school call P.S. 105 in Brooklyn, New York and I failed two years of school in a row just because I didn’t do my homework. It was always 4 homeworks every single day, even Christmas break… It was the same kind of homework over and over again…I was doing horrible in the school there but after moving from NY to KY, I was doing exceptionally well. We didn’t had much homeworks. Majority of the homeworks were finished during school times. What’s undone is taken home to finish. We usually only have homework 2-3days a week. My teacher in NY thought I was stupid, but I’m not. I’m quite smart. It’s just that too much homeworks at such a young age can pressure students a lot…

    • Hui

      What I hate most was this book summary that we had to do every single day. Read a book, then list the title,theme, author, illustrator,setting, brief summary like beginning,middle and ending,etc. Back then, to me that was overwhelming and having 3 others homeworks didn’t really help.
      In KY, we didn’t had to do that book summary. We just read a Accelerated Reading(AR) book and take a test on it. Like I said, homeworks were mostly done in school. If I didn’t know something, I could ask the teacher immediately vs. ,in NY, homeworks were always take home. No way to ask the teacher if I was stuck while doing it at home, and the homework was immediately check for grade the next day.

      I hated school like P.S. 105 with a burning passion!!!!

  • Vicki

    When your kids are in school for 7-8 hours per day, plus involved in team sports or extracurricular clubs or activities, it is consistently challenging and stressful for kids and parents alike to make sure homework is completed, while also ensuring that kids are getting the rest they need. And to what end? Teachers and students are overburdened, and there’s no time or room for reflection, creativity or freedom in this ‘No Child Left Behind’ federally mandated test-obsessed era Given the widespread epidemics of remediation on college campuses, depression and other serious emotional problems afflicting high school students and spreading into younger middle school student populations, this country needs to revise its antiquated thinking about what produces optimal learning, and redefine what an American education should be. It’s time for an age of enlightened learning: a time in which parents together with schools change the rules & truly cooperate in fashioning an educational experience that is tailored to the needs of the individual student. Otherwise, it appears we will merely be producing a generation of burned out, uninspired, robotic drones who can not solve any of the world’s problems, only contribute to them.

    • L. Tafro

      Absolutely agree!!!

  • Carla Shackelford

    Let me say one thing Lots of Homework does not help as most think it does. It is what it is busy work or helps when you are not understanding the concept. Once you get the concept then it becomes just busy work. I had a math teather from 5th -12th grade and he did not use a text book. We had to try to solve the math problems during class and then he would show us the steps if we needed help, but only after trying. He never assigned math homework because he didn’t believe in it. Also he is one of the top math teachers in the country. Today I am an Engineer. Challenge them to think but don’t overwhelm the students. My teacher would say everyday you can’t learn everything from a book. That is true.

  • murph

    Just keep your kids off of the video games, that is the BIG problem today, not too much free time, not enough free time, it’s the games and too much TV. Make them go outside and play. Give them a certain amount of time with the video games, then off you go.

    • Susan H

      There’s no time to go out and play! My kids don’t play video games during the week. They go to school, then come home, do homework, eat dinner, do more homework, shower and go to bed. Lovely life for 10 year old children.

  • Bily Thompson

    You know what You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by searching online for “Wise Health Insurance” If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

    • L. Tafro

      what does that have to do with homework issues???

  • Joe

    Esther you must be a NJ resident, judging from your worldly and insightful input. (joke)

  • Joe

    too much work today = the robots of corporate america tomorrow….its all one big business starting from kindergarten on up to retirement….the only ones that benefit from the backbreaking work of the common person are the wealthy….lets teach our kids to question the system and keep control over their lives…..great job Ridgewood!

  • aldous huxley

    I see this as a time allocation issue and the need to stay competitive..

    Children today really don’t have the luxury of free time. If they are to have any chance of getting a job once out of school, they need to be ahead of their competition. Each and every exam, paper, and grade is critical to the child’s potential future. 1 hour of free time each day Monday thru Friday. 3 hours of free time on Saturday & Sunday. The rest of the time – study Study STUDY!

    More parents will need to opt their children in for year-round schooling. It may mess up the family vacation, but the child’s future is at stake here. Otherwise, they will be canon fodder for the military. The lucky ones will become drones for the corporate machine. Scary new world :(

    • Joe

      It is not a time allocation issue, the students have no time because of the amounts of homework placed on them every night. What it is, is an issue of proper use of time and effective methods on the part of the teacher. I am not saying that all homework should be done away with however, after working in public schools as a teacher’s assistant, I can tell you that a large portion of teachers don’t “TEACH” today, they assign. It is pass/fail, if you understand it great you’ll do fine in the class if not, you better find someway to get extra help outside the classroom. Teachers do not get paid a lot and some don’t get what they ARE worth. But, some get far more than they are worth based on the effort they put forth on a daily basis. I am not anti-union but, if we really want to fix the educational system today, we really need to re-think the purpose and power of the unions. Teachers are important and we do need more than ever. But, we need teachers that do it to make a difference. We need teachers who don’t hide behind their unions knowing that once they get tenure, they have very little to worry about. We need teachers that take personal pride in helping their students to succeed and who realize that they can’t count on and shouldn’t force students to teach themselves at home. Teachers who don’t spoon feed everything , that make students work to learn but who don’t “pass the buck” when it comes to their responsibility within the learning process. When this happens, students’s stress levels will drop, depression will drop, scores will likely climb in the lond run and families can become familes once again.

  • esther teitelbaum

    oh dear. i hope these youngsters stay out of trouble. they have no respect for authority. homework keeps them focused and disciplined. they have too much play time already. this is a very bad idea. oh dear.

    • James

      Really? You’ve got to be joking. If you truly believe that, then you need to spend a day in one of today’s high schools. God forbid kids have some free time. Oh dear.

    • Susan H

      Homework does nothing to keep them focused and disciplined. It keeps them unmotivated, disinterested, and takes away any curiosity or creativity they might have. Homework is eating away at the American family. I suspect you have no children in school right now and are thinking of what it was like when you were in school. Times have changed. Students today are under tremendous amounts of pressure.

      • wufs

        uh, what pressure would that be? Kids living in Beirut are under pressure. Kids attending school in Baghdad or Haiti are now under pressure. Stop babying these kids. Geezis,, do you kiss their boo-boos til they are 26 and walking them down the aisle when they get married because they have never walked anywhere alone? I grew up in NYC. My classmates walked 20 blocks to get to junior high. Today, I see a bus stop every three houses–on the same block–to pick up these overgrown infants. heaven forbid Taddy or Kaitlyn walk to the corner. I say Pooh. Pooh and Bah.

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