Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homework is....

I always enjoy the little .gif, but seriously, in Los Angeles, they are going to require that homework count for no more than ten percent of a student's grade due to "varying degrees of access to academic support at home" and "to account for the myriad urban problems facing the district's mostly low-income, minority population" (LA Times).  

All I know is, that the less homework give, the less the students will do.  I believe that this lowers expectations and as the story points out, telling them that they can skip out on all homework and get a 90% is precisely the wrong way to go about it.
"Homework is not supposed to be used as a weapon," she [Judy Elliot, chief academic officer for LAUSD] says, "It's supposed to be used as practice."

This, of course, relies on the idealistic hope that kids want to go home and "practice" dorky vocab instead of farting around with their skate buddies outside the local 7-11. Given the opportunity to pull a B+ without doing any homework, we bet our high-school diplomas that they'll go ahead and do just that.
Precisely. They are kids! Telling them they have to do less of something is a recipe for getting just that!

Final thought - I find that lowering standards for various groups (whether ethnic or financial) is an exercise of horrendous paternalism that needs to be eliminated. How is anything learned if we just say "oh, you don't have to do that because you are part of group X", or worse, "we don't expect you to do that because you are part of group X". It is condescending as hell, but I wonder why people continue to accept it. I guess only God knows the answer.

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