Parents In N.J. Town Start Movement To Abolish Homework

Education Expert: Schools Need To Follow Amount Guidelines

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A lot of kids complain about homework, but now some parents are saying their children are getting too much and want it abolished.

Even during their lunch break, high school students in Maplewood try to squeeze in some homework.

“Two or three hours,” freshman Maddy Reichman told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu, referring to how much homework she gets on average per night.

Friends said it’s sometimes as much as four hours and makes for a very hard balancing act.

“I play sports so it’s really tough to have practice right after school and come home at 6:30 and then do my homework, eat, do my chores, do everything,” Reichman said.

High school junior Jeremy Walrond said his nightly homework load is massive.

“In terms of hours, I guess like around five or six,” Walrond said.

Now while you’ll find lots of students who want to cut down on the amount of homework, there’s actually a parent who wants to get rid of it altogether. She sent out an e-mail to other parents in the South Orange/Maplewood area, asking them to organize to help abolish homework.

Education expert Sy Fliegel said not having homework is not the answer.

“It’s like someone saying to you too much food is no good for you, what’s the solution? Let’s not eat anything,” said Fliegel, of the Center for Educational Innovation. “What has to happen is more attention has to be paid to the quality of the homework assignment.”

Fliegel said schools need to follow homework amount guidelines, such as 10 minutes for first graders, 20 minutes for second graders and so on, with the maximum load of homework reaching two hours in high school.

He said teachers should coordinate with each other.

“My daughter is frequently up until midnight doing homework, sometimes past. Last night it was 2 a.m.,” parent Jeff Schnorr said.

Even some students think abolishing homework is going too far.

“I think it would be nice, but I’m not sure we could ever abolish it 100 percent, because it helps me sometimes,” freshman Molly Brett said.

But students told Hsu, with really effective teachers, less can mean more when it comes to learning.

Education experts said homework is also a good tool to let parents know what’s going on in class and for teachers to monitor a student’s progress.

How much is enough homework? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Selina457

    Hallo zusammen, bin auf diesemungewöhnlichen Weg auf der Suche nacheinem Abenteuer. Frei nach dem Motto Alles kann, nichts muss! Vielleicht wird was Intensives draus, vielleicht auch nicht – lass es uns einfach mal ausprobieren. Diesen Sommer möchte ich wirklich in vollen Zügen genießen. Ich bin übrigens 26 und habe blonde Haare Mit den Richtlinien in diesem Forum kenne ich mich nicht so aus und mir nichtmal sicher, ob ich hier überhaupt so eine Nachricht hinterlassen darf… deswegen hab ich hier einfach eine Annonce gepostet, dort kann man mir auch direkt diskret via Mail antworten:
    Es ist natürlich völlig für lau. Ja, das hat mich auch gewundert. Abends ab 20:00 Uhr erreichst Du mich dort fast immer. Bin ehrlich gesagt, auch schon ziemlich auf der Suche nach Mr. Right
    Freue mich auf Zuschriften!


  • michael reilly

    Keep the schoolwork at school.Parents are not school teachers.Kids have plenty of homework to do like play eat chores and general relaxing.This system make for better parent child relationships.the parents need not be the schoolwork cops.I,ve been practicing this for six kids and there all happy.KEEP THE SCHOOLWORK@SCHOOL.harmony

  • Jay

    Why should there be any homework after kids spend 6-7 hours in school anyway?
    Besides, no one needs to memorize Ax+By=C, the rock cycle, or how to spell loquacious. Does anyone remember this stuff in 20 years, or even just after the test?
    When you know what you want to do with your life then you can learn the stuff to help you with that on your own or with a teacher of your choice instead of the 1size fits all school system.

  • Karen Culpepper

    I wrote a children’s book on this subject but the lesson is good for any age. Homework is a lesson onto it self. Check out my book

  • marcus

    due to my posts (many) one may feel I am a supporter of work work… only hours translate to success… etc… are wrong… in fact personally believe in effective time vs just putting in the hours… and formally … europe did exhaustive studies in late 1900s on hours relating to productivity … some of the conclusions were that too many hours or not having or taking vacation time off… and most important in one block… led to less productivity … more sick days… more on job accidents and less effective and efficient productivity per hour…
    but remember that school is not like a job… which is 8 hours of doing the same thing… in school there is socializing, mixing of subject matter… etc..
    my basic issue is that of parents boycotting.

  • marcus

    ok.. for those that support the boycott… lets roll the dice… take a long shot … why a long shot? at least from my point of view is some parents and students believe that by not having homework … it will benefit the student… which is against the belief of their schools professional educators and certified teachers.

    when rolling the dice… just remember your potentially putting on the line other students needs and potential, and possibly the future of your public school system… which I may remind some effects the value of real estate … which in turn if drops … effects needed property taxes for the infrastructure of your community… so throw the dice

  • urg

    Terrible idea…what are we coming to…

  • Barry Doucette

    Yes let’s eliminate homework. It’s New Jersey after all and they way the speak, homework could actually ruin their enunciation…

  • marcus

    a little comprehension quizz… how many understand the reality of a high school diploma? or grades? first a diploma basically certifies that one covered various subjects and received various graded levels of how well one understood the material…. but keep in mind… this means one has met the minimum required and a A grade means that one understood the maximum of the minimum requirement.. and a B was understanding most and a C average of the minimum and that is only based on a percentage type grading scale… if a curved type grading scale is used may result in either downward or upward scaling of this. along with a diploma is another certification called the SAT which tests comprehension and application of knowledge…. aptitude is key here… ability to apply knowledge… not just knowing it but applying it… that is where and what classroom time focuses on…

  • marcus

    has anyone done the math on this yet? lets see five days a week, one class is about 45 minutes once things settle down. multiply by weeks the length of the course and subtract holidays etc.. if the course is based on covering the content of a text book… how long does it take for the average or little below reader to complete? how long does it take to comprehend and how long does it take to set in for recall purposes? to support comprehension and recall what amt of time is required by the teacher interacting with the class… to further support this what amt of time is required for open discussions and interaction to clarify various individual thoughts. as a form of feedback for the student, teacher and class what amt of time is needed to perform exercises in applying this new knowledge in the form say … calculations, papers or reports. we should also remember this is a public school with various degrees of inherent skills levels such as reading or comprehension.

  • Chris

    Okay so everyone is saying that wasting your one and only childhood is good for you. the problem is not homework its the school system we are focusing on test grades not focusing on test grades we need to focus on teaching students on things that will help them later in life. but no everyone thinks test grades are important. the homework is a waste of time. we are teaching students to be mindless followers nothing more.

  • Sarah

    The reason it takes too long is these kids are multitasking. They aren’t spending 5 hours a night doing homework. They are spending 5 hours a night “doing homework” while surfing the internet and watching TV and playing games. I know because I was one of those kids in high school. It wasn’t until college that I really learned time management and actually focused on my homework and finished it before I got other stuff done.

    And now I am able to balance 50 hour work weeks, time with friends and family, and housework. Thank you, homework, for teaching me how to deal with the real world.

  • Mike

    You are so right! I believe strongly in homework. We do not want these kids growing up to think that they can go to work, do their job for 8-10hrs a day and then come home and have free time! You work from Sun-up til Sun-down and there ain’t no “Lord’s Day.” I think you should start off with the first good example. Tomorrow, ask the boss to make sure that he/she sends you home with enough extra work to keep you busy 3-4hrs every night.

    • Allie

      Amen Mike. Seriously. Real life is not about doing work all day. Real life is about proper work-life balance. This does not promote good values.

  • Bree

    The problem with no homework is that American children feel entitled already, and that every little thing they say and do is important (hence the need to broadcast it on Facebook). Eliminating homework is one more step towards the “aww you’re so special just by being you, thanks for showing up to school today! Here’s a gold star!” mentality.

    There is a point to be made about excessive homework or “busy” work. Some teachers issue excessive homework without any regard to the fact that students have more than one class, and some teachers give out mindless homework assignments just to keep kids busy.

    What they need to do is have a standard on what the homework should contain and how long it should take, depending on the age group. Quality is important so homework actually aids their development, not hinders it. However eliminating homework entirely only serves to harm kids rather than help.

  • marcus

    how can one even remotely believe that the required amt of material can be covered only in the classroom? if you believe this… then we can save the taxpayer a heck of alot of money by just putting tv monitors in the front of the class or just have the class time for reading the text book with a low wage monitor to oversee. why have teachers … they just get in the way of reading or writing during class causing one to have to spend some time out of class. or even better forget school and just order the text book… but look out … now one has to do their own scheduling and set time aside from their other much more pressing concerns… and by the way if you have any questions about the material in the book… just ask your parents who are standing by to assist.

  • Mark

    There needs to be a fair balance between work time and leisure time. Homework is a good learning re-inforcement too. The same concept applies when you are part of a sports team. There needs to be practice time. Teachers should refriain from giving what I call busy work which has little or no value other than to occupy a students time when they otherwise could be doing something fun or constructive. The main functino of homework should be for practicing what was taught in class. Also the amount should be no more than 2 hours per night on weekdays and no homework at all on a weekend, unless the student procacinates during the week.

  • Brigid

    Why is it good for children to work 45- to 56-hour weeks (6 to 8 hours in school five days a week with 3 to 4 hours of homework every night) while we think adults should only have to work 40-hour weeks?

    Is all that homework actually teaching the children anything? Are the teachers actually helping the children learn while they are in the classroom, or is homework a substitute for lack of teacher effort or skill?

    Maybe what is wrong with children’s performance is exhaustion and skewed adult priorities. The last I heard, those international models of education we envy rob children completely of their childhood and have resulted in significant numbers of teens having nervous breakdowns or committing suicide.

    If poverty robs children of their childhood because they have to work to buy food for themselves or their families, we moan about how awful the lost childhood is. If we take childhood away from them for the sake of so-called education that nevertheless leaves many unable even to read or locate their state on a map, we say it is good. Either way, we have children whose lives are out of balance and subject to all the physical, psychological and emotional problems that situation can generate.

    • marcus

      can see your point and agree on some. personally do not know all the issues that may reflect on this situation.. is the amt. of homework a reflection on a mandate by powers to be to cover x-amount of material? is it that the level of overall scores of students graduating indicating a small but continual decline over the recent years? this issue could very well be somewhat a result of not coordinating assignments between the other courses. but to me there are two fundamental issues at stake here.. by the parents publicly validating issues brought up by some students begin to set a precedence on other issues…. which can lead to a very strange and somewhat less than desired result. I am all for being constructively critical of things do not seem right.. and most if it is an official line. but lets try to keep in mind a few things… these are young to very young people with little if any experience or wisdom. the reason to even be in school and be educated is for them theoretical at best and abstract at worse. what they are being told to learn typically has very little bearing on what is here and now. some students reasoning for being in school maybe due to parents telling them to…. or others think of it where all their friends are… along with other motives…. for me some of these thoughts were my own when a student… the reality is that later many may regret not making a fuller use of the opportunity given to them by their school…. once your out of school… with job or family or no job… one may not have the time or resources to recoup what was passed up. by agreeing with the students views by supporting without further study by both sides… not emotionally but objectively … boycotting homework cannot be a benefit… the message sent to the students that are highly motivated and do make the time for homework maybe boy am I sucker… it is one thing to feel like the class nerd because of your attention and success in class… but to have that attitude supported by some if not many of the parents is a whole other thing. I have seen over and over how public concern… much based on good beliefs… result in not bettering the situation for the ones that the actions were meant for but the opposite in lessening the ones that were meant as a achievement goal… and then we just lowered the measuring stick to give some creditability to our actions… to pander to every ones feeling of ‘me’ and need of instant gratification may make us feel good at the moment but ends up to some extent inhibits the development of becoming an adult. when we are a baby… we are the most self centered beings of our species. as we develop we learn and typically not on a intellectual level but by experience what is required have things we want … be it friends, things or success.

  • Lee

    Homework is the school coming into your house saying that you must do this, you cannot do this, as well as making sure the students are always following the mandatory lifestyle the school made for them. It’s there to make sure that not going to go out of the status quo and try something different. And when has homework ever been more than an annoyance? Have you ever been glad to do homework? Students don’t do it out of things like moral obligation, commitment, or passion, they do it out of getting a bad grade from their teachers. So really, homework is a threat.

  • Thomas

    I can see the logic of having homework as a study aid. It helps, especially with subjects like writing and mathematics. Students definitely need practice with math. However some teachers just use homework to pad the grade book and their learning plans that some schools require to be turned in each week. Before I graduated back in ’95, I had math teachers giving out large amounts of homework that exceeded common sense. For example, one algebra teacher gave out worksheets with over 260 long division problems which she expected us to turn in the next day. Another reason that the homework is given is that the teachers are expected by administrators (some of whom have never taught a day in their lives) to cover a set number of objectives despite class size, time and thedisruptions caused by undisciplined students who the teachers remove from class just to have them put back in to disrupt again. The homework acts as an extension of the class. As for the idea someone mentioned earlier about using online homework, the only problem is that not everyone has a computer. I know of some adults that do not own computers or have any form of internet access other than at work or school. Not everyone can afford it. Then of course you have some teachers that assign it to make it look like they are actually doing something instead of just teching verbatum from a text book. I had some that would actually get up in front of the class and read word for word what was in the text book without adding any insight, extra facts, corrections, or even skipping the unnecessary information such as certain statistics. Afterwards, they would pile on the homework to make us look up the information so that we could make them look good. Others would actually put excerts from the book on the tests as fill in the blank questions. As for those that said that the homework was just keeping the kids from wasting time, etc. I lived on a farm. When I got home from school, I would help my dad take care of the livestock, the garden and chores. I also had to do odd jobs to make money if I wanted to do anything like rent movies or get an ice cream because we were on a really tight budget. The rest of the night was spent studying for tests or working on homework. I also had learning issues when it came to mathematics, not mentally disabled, I was just slower than others at taking it from the brain and putting it on paper so I know what it is like to spend anywhere from 1-5 hours working on an assignment.

  • KB123

    If you think 2-3 hours of homework is bad, just wait till college. Try 8-12 hours a day of outside class time work…then you’ll have something to complain about. Hate to say it but the more you can mentally gear yourself early on in middle school and high school the better off you’ll be when you get to college, and that means doing tons of homework. Homework is absolutely necessary and may seem like “busy work,” but it’s teaching kids self -discipline, time management skills, and perseverance.

    • Peggi

      I agree. It beats standing around street-corners showing yer underwaer. and making little girls prenant.

    • Bree

      Yeah I had a four hour lab in college and my teacher said the standard was “2 hours of homework outside of class for every hour inside of class in college.” And that was just one class…while working to pay to go to school between all of the piles of homework and projects.

      Better prepare them for college now or they’ll be really sorry…

      • marcus

        but even more applicable to this situation… is that I believe in college if one told their professor that there was too much work or if the student and their parents made a complaint or wanted to boycott the school due to much ‘homework’… may of met with less than a receptive audience…. if a student feels that demands are not just … they have pretty clear means to make a change… either leave school or flunk out.

      • marcus

        or transfer to another…. many students transfer to other schools due to being to demanding…. but usually to a school considered less and their graduates less in demand by the job market.

        almost feel the possible result may be that the school accepts the demands of parents and students and let them have what they want but probably not what they need… or if some students/parents feel strongly about this issue seek alternative schools or move else where to a dif school system…

    • Allie

      Why would you have 8 – 12 hours of college homework per day??? I don’t know a single person who had that much. I have a masters, and I know I certainly didn’t. I still had a full time job and a real life while going to school and doing homework. That teaches time management – you don’t learn time management when the only thing you can do is homework until you pass out and never have any friends or life.

    • Joshua Frazer

      You’re really slow if you’re college homework took 8-12 hours.

      Also when you go to college you’re an adult.

      If yo go to school 8AM to 3:30PM, attend one extra curricular activity that ends up with you home at 6pm, 4 hours of homework puts you at 10PM. That’s not leaving time for eating, hygiene, etc. Children also need time for sleep. Not going to extracurricular activities makes them less competitive for college.

      It’s not teaching them perseverance. All this useless busy work is burning them out from education.

    • frink

      This is New Jersey, they are NOT going to college.

    • Stephanie

      I have a M.A., and other than when I had a study to turn in, I really never had 8 – 12 hours per day. Balance is also important, and I’m a teacher.

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