Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homework in the News March 6, 2012

Article on parents taking control of schools in the Washington Post.

I think it is important for parents to have control of the schools. But I also think it is important for parents to have control of their homes. As a bottom line, parents want their children to attend safe schools where teachers provide them with a quality education. But parents also need to know that the bulk of the education is going to take place in the school, not in the  home. Certainly, home is one of the main places for children to learn. They learn through play. They learn from their parents. They watch their parents and model their behaviors. Yet, that process of learning in the family gets sorely interfered with when teachers extend their reach beyond the classroom and into the home. An average child will have about 30 different teachers from kindergarten through high school. Every one of those teachers is currently given the power to impose significant dictates on what goes on in the home through homework assignments, and the power to penalize to a harsh degree (the child can fail if the assignments are not done). This saps parents of authority and control of their homes, sets academic education above other forms of learning, and interferes with the lessons which naturally come from home. If teachers stayed focused, primarily, on what happens in class, and built solid mentor-student relationships with the children there, not create misbehavior over assignments undone, it would go a long way toward improving education, and satisfying the parents’ concerns. I hope that parents take this seriously as they set their agenda for improving their children’s schools. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D.

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