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Opinion: Glen Rock Schools Need a Homework Policy

The lack of a homework policy in Glen Rock undermines the incredible work of our teachers and is counter-intuitive to our goal of promoting a complete life experience for our children.

[Editor's note: The following opinion article was submitted by Glen Rock parent Sean Brennan. Agree with Sean that a policy is needed? Disagree? Share your child's experience with homework loads in the comments below.]

Remember those long nights of homework in 6th grade, working tirelessly from the moment you got home, taking only a short break to have a snack and eat dinner, before heading back to the books, finishing about 8:30 p.m?  

Those long hours of homework were repeated each weekday followed by another 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday working on special projects. Remember? Of course you don’t, since it never happened. But this is what our children are experiencing in 6th grade in Glen Rock Middle School and it is neither productive nor healthy.

At the beginning of this school year, our 6th grade daughter was spending at least 4 to 5 hours a night on homework. We initially attributed this to the big change going from 5th to 6th. And at first, that was the issue. But after my daughter settled down into a rhythm and a schedule, the efficiencies she gained through proper and thoughtful planning only got her down to 3 to 4 hours.

After a couple of weeks of seeing our daughter struggle to finish her homework by 9:00 p.m., we consulted with each of her teachers to understand what their homework expectations were. Each teacher estimated that their assignments should be taking approximately 20-30 minutes each plus an additional 30 minutes of reading. With 6 subjects a day plus special projects teachers expected students to work on during the week, that quickly added up to 150 to 210 of minutes of homework per night.

We asked our daughter to record how much time she was spending on each subject and she was in fact spending between 20-30 minutes on average with each subject. However, she was often given assignments that could not be completed in that amount of time, specifically those requiring research that needed to be documented. In addition to homework due during the week, my daughter was given assignments started in class that she was expected to finish during her free time, typically the weekend. These assignments required an additional 5 to 10 hours a weekend to complete.

We had no expectations about how much homework our daughter should be assigned. Was this our school’s policy? Should she be spending this much time each night? Is this amount of homework in her best interest? What guidelines are our teachers given to create the most effective assignments? How do the teachers coordinate their efforts so the children are not overloaded? How much homework is too much?

My wife and I met with the middle school administration, hoping to get answers to these questions. While we had a very open and lively discussion; they were not overly concerned about the amount of time our daughter was spending on homework and did not seem troubled about the apparent issues that the lack of a homework policy creates, including the possibility of uncoordinated workloads and inconsistent experiences and opportunities for children in the same grade.

They did not dispute our findings about the workload assigned by each teacher but refused to admit that the cumulative effect of the assignment resulted in 3 to 4 hours of homework each night and held no opinion if this was appropriate or detrimental to our children’s education.

Instead they wanted to turn the focus on my daughter. The homework was her problem to solve.

To our dismay, their recommendation was to tell her to just stop working after a set amount of time. When I prompted them for their opinion on how much time she should be spending, they asked me what I thought. I was stunned by this response but took the request seriously. So, I researched the topic in hopes of providing an informed response to this important issue since I did not have any significant educational resources, background, or experience.

While my research did reveal that many school districts across New Jersey, like our neighbors in Ridgewood, have decided to implement a homework policy, there is not much published research on the role and impact of homework on increased achievement. Even the landmark publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983, while recognizing that the amount of homework had decreased over time, did not reach any definitive conclusions or recommendations about how this impacted higher achievement. However, the districts that have recently decided to implement a homework policy did so to address general welfare concerns for students as well as opening a dialogue between teachers and parents about homework.

The administration referred us to a report published in 2003 by The Brown Center on Education Policy called “Do student’s have too much homework?”. This report was released in part to a growing sentiment at the time claiming that our children had too much homework, reflected in headline articles in both Time and Newsweek. The key finding in this report was that American children on average have less than 1 hour of homework a night. While the authors hoped to provide a correlation between this lack of homework and the failing rate of our school systems, they admittedly could reach no such conclusion. In fact, in a discussion of the report, they warned that an analysis of data did not provide a correlation between high achievement and higher homework load. 

This stance seems to be fairly consistent among researchers, including The Center for Public Education, while also highlighting the diminishing effectiveness of too much homework. Interestingly enough, the authors of this report recommend the policies of the NEA as good guidelines for homework. With this policy, 6th graders should have approximately 60 minutes instead of the 210 minutes, or 3.5 hours, of homework that Glen Rock 6th Graders are currently assigned.

It is very easy to distort any discussion about homework with the extreme positions to eliminate all homework that is currently being suggested by the “Race to Nowhere” movement. But this is not my feeling at all. In fact, we feel so fortunate to have such incredibly caring, smart, and thoughtful teachers and are thrilled by the types of assignments that our daughter has been given by her wonderful teachers. Our issue is the load of homework being assigned and how the lack of a policy that not only guides time but purpose, is a major gap in our educational program.

While I did send a  response to their request, I have not received an answer. But since I was asked, here is it. We need our administration to take a thoughtful approach to a homework policy and as a start, I would propose we implement the recommendations of the NEA.

Why do we need a homework policy? A policy creates a consistent approach to homework quality and quantity so that we, teachers and parents, can measure how our students are performing relative to the amount of time we expect them to accomplish it. If our children are spending 4 hours each night and weekends on homework, how can parents gauge if our children are struggling or not? A policy will ensure our children are not getting overworked without a defined benefit.

Based upon policies that have been implemented in other school districts, I would propose a homework policy that:

1) Guides teachers to develop assignments that are directly related to topics that the class is currently working on. Assignments should have a purpose, be age appropriate, and should be able to completed by the student without parental assistance.

2) Creates a guideline for the amount of homework that can be assigned each night, as well as on weekends and during vacation. As recommended by the NEA, 10-20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter.

3) Requires parents to monitor the amount of time their children are spending on homework to ensure that their children are completing it within the guidelines. Parent can use this to gauge their child’s understanding of the materials and alert teachers if their child is struggling.

As recently as last year, the National Association of Elementary School Principals published a comprehensive report that sets homework guidelines and highlights the burden that it places on family life.

The inconsistent and heavy workload that we are subjecting our children to is starting a cycle that we as adults abhor, a treadmill of work that ignores the benefits of childhood that we hold so dear. More troubling, the absence of a policy pits parent against teachers. I am here to say that as a parent, I am thankful everyday for the amazing teachers that my daughters have had. They are concerned, insightful, thoughtful, and created an unparalleled environment for our children. My daughters love their teachers.

But a lack of policy is a failure of our administration and their inaction is disconcerting. A policy is an opportunity to increase our partnership with the wonderful teachers and we must be their advocate in promoting a policy that will enable all of us. A policy is an incredibly easy way for us as parents to be able to gauge how our children are doing before tests are taken. A policy enables our teachers to focus on the quality of homework without worry that they will be judged.

Why do I care? This has created significant amount of stress for my daughter. She is an incredibly inquisitive young girl who is driven to do a good job, and is consumed by completing her assignments well. She cannot just stop as our administration proposed. She cannot stop because she wants to learn. She loves to learn. But she is going to burn out. There is in fact little or no time during the week for my daughter to be young and this homework is added to a school day which is already 47 minutes longer than the state average. There is not a day in my daughter’s life that she is not doing homework for at least some part of the day. While she is doing well in school, we are heartbroken when she is crying in bed, asking me when this is going to get better.

We are failing our children if we are creating a childhood that mirrors our adult experience. We are failing our children if we don’t work with their teachers to make school an education and not a job. We are shortsighted if we deny our children the opportunity to be children. There will be time for being an adult. But that time is not now.

The lack of a homework policy undermines all of the good work that our teachers provide our children while in class and it is counter-intuitive to our goal of promoting a complete life experience for our children.

My wife and I feel we are alone in this issue. The administration has made it seem that we are the only parents that have raised this concern, that the problem is in fact with my daughter. But my daughter’s experience is not unique. Look only to an Patch article written last year by a Glen Rock student. Our children are talking to us. We can hear our voices in their words. We must listen and act.

Stephanie in GR February 20, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Freddie, I'm afraid you are misinformed. The teachers themselves have told parents that their homework should take 20-30 minutes each evening. That means 20-30 minutes per subject, and there are 6 subjects, which equals 180 minutes. Then add 30 minutes of reading each evening: the total is 3.5 hours per evening. And this does not take into consideration a student struggling with material: it will take more than 3.5 hours per evening if there is confusion, needs review with a parent. You can be sure we parents have looked at these assignments, and they are complex. Some of the assignments really take more than 30 minutes. I welcome you to come see what many 6th graders are assigned each week. This has nothing to do with coddling students. No 11-year old should be working 11-12 hours a day.
Randi Asher, Psy.D. February 20, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Kris, Your theory of competition is precisely where the excessive homework in the United States began in the 1950's with our efforts to keep up with Russia and Spudnik. Prior to this, Pediatrician's set the tone, and children had less excessive work. This flip flopped until the 80's with efforts to theoretically produce a strong future generation during the Cold War, and again during the No Child Behind Act. But, this had nothing to do with research or effectiveness or education. It had to do with politics. And, it was ineffective. Most recently, a study by Sydney University found the countries to give the least amount of homework scored the highest on international testing (Japan, Denmark & Czech). It's why France's President just banned homework, and Australia considered putting homework reform on it's national ballot. I do believe in the benefits of homework, those that are documented. So, if you want us to compete--let's do it right. It's time to stop confusing rigor with excess.
Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. February 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I believe in a simple policy which includes time-based assignments, reduced homework penalties, increased teacher education regarding homework, and recognition of parents as the final decision-makers on matters in the home. There is more information on my model at www.thehomeworktrap.com.
J sim February 20, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I have not had this experience at all. My son is a straight A student and he gets all his homework done in about 30 mins or night on average. Some things he does during free time at school. I agree with "Glen rock" about the issue with making a homework policy. Which child is this policy geared toward? While I do not believe a child should have 3.5 hours of homework a night, I think each child has to be taught how to prioritize subjects and assignments. Growing up, I remember having 3 hours worth of homework per night and I would struggle to be average. But I did not think they should lower the bar on what they called success to accommodate me. I grew up an average kid struggling and understanding that working hard was worth it. I now live in an affluent area and do okay for myself, so it could not have been all for naught.
Rex Ryan February 20, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Why do we insist on making our kids work overtime every day? If your boss made you take your work home with you EVERY night wouldn't you expect to get compensated for that? We all do it within reason but object when it becomes excessive. I don't see how this is any different.
Rock February 20, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Randi - I think its a mistake to cite France as an example where homework is the issue related to poor scores in international testing. Its also important to point out that France's school schedule is 4 days a week (Wednesdays are not a school day), a 2 hour lunch -- and for the days they are in school the day is as long as a typical work day. So, its within that context that they are proposing changes to homework. France's education problems are many, and homework is probably the least of it.
Lori February 20, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Kris, I hope you do not have kids. I'll bet that you didn't have the amount of homework these 6th graders have when you were a 6th grader. I certainly didn't. My son is now in 7th grade...6th grade was a nightmare with homework assignments. I believe that homework reinforces what is taught in class but I do not believe it is healthy or beneficial for 11 - 12 year olds to spend 3-4 hours a night on it. And don't thow China at us. Be resonable. Consider what is age appropriate.
SK February 20, 2013 at 06:17 PM
While I understand both sides of the issue, I have to agree with Glen Rock that a one size fits all policy is inappropriate due to the differences in the kids as well as the various subjects. I have elementary school children and have been working hard with them to learn time management. We start studying for a test as soon as we learn about it, which is usually about a week before. We also start our projects early to avoid any last minute scrambling. It is very difficult to teach young children to manage their time effectively but it is worth it as they get older. I also have to agree about the comments regarding extracurricular activities and tech toys. The tech toys especially can be a huge distraction. I would like the schools to teach teachers to coordinate their assignments more effectively. I have seen too many cases where teachers schedule all the tests together in one week. We have also experienced several projects or reports being assigned all at once and that's only in elementary school where most kids have one to two teachers in one year. I think this is a difficult subject without a one size fits all solution.
Jennifer R February 20, 2013 at 07:04 PM
I completely agree with this article! I, too, have a 6th grader in the Glen Rock Middle School in the exact same predicament - facing 4 hours of homework on average per night. I find this to be a recent development in the Middle School. My older children (College and High School students) did not deal with this level of work until High School when the honors and AP classes began. Twelve year olds are still children and should not be weighed down with adult responsiblities! It a sad commentary when your child will not sign up for any extra-curricular activities due to the amount of homework received.
Stephanie in GR February 20, 2013 at 07:23 PM
This issue is not about time management, tech toys, distractions, or students dillydallying. Each teacher has told the parents that their assignments each take 20-30 minutes per night. It doesn't sound like much, but when you consider that there are 6 major subject, 30 minutes of reading per night, studying for tests, researching long-term projects, etc, the weekly cumulative work load (as described by the teachers themselves) is around 3-4 hours per night. There is no research (or sensible explanation) to support this excessive, exhausting load for 11-year olds. My daughter gets straight As in 6th grade and does not struggle with the content at all. This is an issue of volume of her excessive homework. I have sat with her through all her assignments for an exhausting 3 weeks to see it all first-hand. Countries who score highest on international exams (e.g.Japan, Finland) assign little or no homework. The correlation many assume in this country between a lot of homework and academic success is not based on anything. We are advocating for a sensible approach that does not burn students out before they even get to HS. If you are interested in joining the discussion, please see this: https://www.facebook.com/GlenRockSchoolsNeedAHomeworkPolicy?fref=ts
Kris February 20, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Randi, read up on why Hollande banned homework. It has nothing to do with improving education. He's also extending the academic week in France putting the kids in the classroom for more hours. His motivations have nothing to do with the poor overworked students, and everything to do with the advantage homework lends to rich kids with parents who do the work for them and artificially bloat up their grades. Hollande is a socialist. He's getting rid of homework in the name of social equality. Lori, I have kids older than yours, and they're told to make time for their work and not to whine. And you know what? Kids that aren't hovered over by hand-wringing parents agonizing over their "lost childhood" or whatever will be quiet and get the work done. And no, my kids never took 4 hours but it's entirely possible that the work might have taken some other kids that long. But that doesn't mean there's a problem with the work. I have no memory of how much work I had as a 6th grader, but I can well imagine the likelihood of my parents complaining to the schools about it. And I went through GR schools, K-12. We're raising a nation of coddled burger-flippers.
Ex-Pat February 20, 2013 at 09:18 PM
That is absurd! Time Management for a 12 year old? How about planning out their entire schedule for every minute of every day? Let these kids be kids. Let the school board and the teachers and the parents association hash out an acceptable level, and don't put the owness on the kids. Between school, homework and every activity that parents "think they need to be in" to get ahead, this is the last thing they need to worry about
Ex-Pat February 20, 2013 at 09:35 PM
So if your child is not a straight A student it's their fault? Some kids have dyslexia, some are just slow, some are more athletic than book smart, some don't have parents home to guide them. They don't get things as quickly as others.....so they should b penalised by staying in and doing 4 hours of homework? Personally, I'd b pushing for every child at 12 to b playing outside for 3 hours after school and learning for 8 hours in school. You're lucky, J Sim, your child is bright....but does he play sports, meet up with friends, do school activities? It's a very blinkered mindset to think just because your child can do it, that everyone else's should too.
Ex-Pat February 20, 2013 at 09:38 PM
I really hope all the parents against this crazy amount of homework joins the parents association and gets something done. Your kids need to be kids at that age.
Ex-Pat February 20, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Declan, this article is why I'm glad I decided to educate my children outside America. My 6th grader in The UK goes to school 5 days a week for 6 hours. She learned to read at 4, knows world geography and speaks 3 languages. Sh knows more than I could have dreamed of as a child, yet the intensity is nothing like I am reading here. Her homework rarely reaches over 1 hour, and projects are rare. She is outside playing or at an after school activity enjoying life for hours each day. Yet I have no doubt that she will hav the same opportunities as every 6th grade Glen Rock child. Yet, you have people like Kris in your town who want to produce "robots" like you say and can't see the bigger picture. That's a shame!
Resident February 20, 2013 at 10:06 PM
I appreciate all the responses to this article, but I agree with Jennifer R when she wrote that it's a sad commentary when children forgo extracurricular activities due to the workload. I have a 7th grader who decided to pare down her activities from last year to just show choir because of the effect on her grades and workload. Even with one club, she stresses about its affect on her grades and homework, and often thinks about dropping out due to the anxiety. Her experience in 6th grade really helped her learn time management, and she does well with planning out assignments, which is a good thing. But I feel that our district - with our study lunches and school days that are longer than many other towns - focuses primarily on school work and grades, which leaves little time to socialize and participate in other activities. In my mind, extracurricular activities are not a waste of time but an important part of adolescent development - but many forgo it to make the grade on the parent portal. This is unfortunate at this age.
J sim February 20, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Ex-Pat, Do not put words in my mouth. You need to discuss ideas and refrain from attacking people and the choices they make. I am lucky though, you are right. My son is perfect for me. He's intelligent and athletic and wise and he helps his friends. However, what my son does outside of school is not material to the discussion. You made a choice to raise your kid in the UK. I made a choice to raise my kid in Glen Rock. Do I agree with everything that happens in this town? NO! Do I think we need a policy to support everything I disagree with? Absolutely NOT! My son was having a challenge in one subject and I told him that in the grand scheme of things, it was only important that he try his best and not get all stressed out about it. Guess my advice worked, because he got an A in the class when it was over. When I was in school, I struggled to be average. I tried my best and my parents applauded the fact that I worked hard. I learned that hard work paid off, and B's and C's were okay if they were honestly earned. Today, I do better than my eldest sister who got straight A's throughout her academic career. We cannot worry if our kids struggle. There is value in the struggle too. It teaches them something. Ex-Pat, you need to think long and hard before attacking people. It's not productive to the discussion.
Elizabeth Cox February 20, 2013 at 11:52 PM
so now what do we do- we have written about it, discuss & debated it- what is the next step?
Stephanie in GR February 21, 2013 at 02:34 AM
rb, I would suggest contacting your child's teachers, the principals, and administration and ask about the situation and express your feelings. Please come to the middle/high school HSA meeting on Monday, March 4 at 7:30. Excessive homework and our need for some kind of homework policy is on the agenda for the evening and many parents are coming to voice their support and frustration with homework consuming the lives of their children. Please come voice your support if you are able. The administration can not tell parents that their experience is isolated if we all appear asking for the same changes. Are you on Facebook? there is a page called 'Glen Rock Needs a Homework Policy' , where over 50 people have joined together since the page's creation 2 days ago, to make positive changes in Glen Rock. If you LIKE the page, the updates and posts on that page will keep you in the loop.
WTF February 21, 2013 at 03:04 AM
We believe most of you hit on many relevant points that have been the subject of much conversation in our household. We are the parents of a 6th grader in Glen Rock who loves to learn and has received straight "A" grades thus far. The volume of homework was the primary reason our son gave up basketball this winter. An 11 or 12-year old should not have to sacrifice a healthy athletic endeavor to complete state reports, which is a complete waste of time. What's really troubling is that he actually spent time studying for a volleyball and cup stacking test in gym. Then, there was the blogging about football. This was a complete waste of our son's time. Like Sean Brennan's daughter, our son loves school and loves to learn. He wants to get all the work done and get it done right. He wants to be proud of his work. However, it's become a numbers game. He's burning out and just wants to get an assignment done so he can move on to the next one. For the dad whose child gets his homework done in 30 minutes, he must be a genius. Also, please don't blame electronics for the amount of hours that all these kids are spending on homework. My son sits down at his desk for 4 to 5 hours and does his homework. There is no television or any other electronic device in his room. We believe in hard work, but this is ridiculous. It's not necessary. These 6th graders will be burned out before they even get to high school.
Glen rock February 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM
I've read all the comments and have questioned our teachers and not one of them said they give 30 min of homework a night. One said they give enough to reinforce the classroom but never more than 20min, another said around 10 mins but it depends on the student, if there is a project it will take longer. that does not mean they give 20 min of homework everynight. I think there is clearly a miscommunication or misunderstanding.
John Hahn February 21, 2013 at 02:07 PM
I find all the comments very interesting. I wish we could all meet in the auditorium and discuss this face to face. But that probably will not happen. As for burn out, I think it is up to each parent to help their child manage tasks at hand. It is part of our job. As we know life is about choice. Unfortunately those choices are now happening earlier in life. Our children are heading into a different world than the world I grew up in. We are competing with students of other nations who have longer school days and school years. Our HS Jr. seems to be able to get his homework done during the school day. I am not sure if it is all getting done. (But that is our problem.) We want our children to enjoy their youth. We want them to experience many activities. We are spending 70% of our property tax dollars on education. Don't we as a community want our children to be truly well-educated? Thanks, Sean for starting this discussion.
Jenna Finn February 22, 2013 at 01:20 AM
As a former attendee of GRMS and GRHS I feel like the amount of homework teachers give primarily in grades 6&7 is absurd. The amount of pressure I was put under to get homework done was unreal. I would fall asleep in the textbooks, give up, have sleepless nights and feel stupid and worthless. The most homework I would get was from a very cruel 6th grade block teacher who shall not be named (but I'm sure most of the parents of 6th graders know who I am talking about). She would constantly belittle me, scream in my face, reveal my horrid test scores to my fellow class mates and constantly give me detention. All because I just couldn't get my homework done. I feel so bad for kids who have this woman as a teacher. In seventh grade, I was put in the Special Education program because of my ADD and Centeral Auditory Processing Disorder. Seventh grade was definitely a gift, I was taught by some very lovely, caring teachers. But, my friends who were not in the SpEd program were constantly stressed out by homework. They now say that 7th grade was easily the worst year they have ever had in their entire school career. Currently I am 15 years old and not attending GRHS any longer. The administration decided not to listen to my or my families cry for help after I was starting become so stressed from school I would cry daily. Thankfully, I am now out of that school and enrolled in a homeschooling program called Oak Meadow, I highly recommend pulling your children out.
Randi Asher, Psy.D. February 22, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Jenna, I am so moved by your honesty, coming forward here and telling your story. And, also by your bravery facing the stress of an impossible school load, and the adults who humiliated, punished or invalidated you. Thank you for sharing your experience. You have had a hard road, and Glen Rock didn't make it easier. I am so happy to hear that you are finally thriving, but what a terrible shame that Glen Rock truly failed you. We get an "F". And, I know you are not alone. I spoke with another family considering moving out due to the workload and lack of receptiveness of MS administration. I want you to know that I have personally pointed out to both Principals that while three hours is hell for a strong student, it will be all the more difficult, if not impossible, for a student with learning issues. Please know that there are parent efforts in place to try to remedy this, and I only wish it had come sooner to help you, too. Thank you for coming forward and I wish you the very best.
JAFO February 22, 2013 at 02:03 PM
There's an interesting article in the school's student newspaper that speaks to this issue somewhat: http://theglenecho.com/2013/02/21/the-times-they-are-a-changin-glen-rock-considers-massive-schedule-reform/
Laura Pressman-McNamara February 25, 2013 at 02:09 AM
It is refreshing and validating to read all of these posts because I as well believe strongly that there must be a homework policy for Glen Rock middle school students and Glen Rock high school students. Some people who have posted different ideas about homework policy have introduced very good ideas worth seriously considering. Knowing the Brennan famiy and the Asher/Bases family, I would like to add my voice to what they have already presented. What I would like to also do is give a voice to the many many parents with whom I have spoken who are equally as concerned if not more so about their children's amount of homework etc... but feel that there is nowhere for them to turn. I have personally received a copy of "The Race to Nowhere" with the necessary materials to "spread the word" about these issues, and have let these parents know they are not alone. I would like to advocate for at least one or two more showings of "The Race to Nowhere" to engage these parents who are not connected to the Glen Rock Patch or Facebook. It is a place for these parents to start, to know that they are part of a greater "force." As a social worker and community activist, the more voices put to a cause, the more likely those who can make change will hear it! I would welcome anyone who would like to help me spread the word and give a voice to all of these parents.
Lauren Miller February 25, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Laura, Is it possible for you to get in contact with me? I am involved with the Race to Nowhere Student Leadership Board due to my essay, the Homework Revolution, and work closely with Vicki Abeles, the director. I have been trying to get another showing for students and administrators for a long time, with little success. - Lauren
Randi Asher, Psy.D. February 25, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Lauren, I was also trying to get another viewing. Last I'd heard from Rona McNabola, the BOE committee was working on getting a panel of experts to be present for a community board showing, which was supposed to be this past fall. No new news on this, but perhaps at tomorrow's BOE meeting, since on the agenda, the Chief School Administrator is giving a "Homework Update." Your connection to Vicki Abeles is so important, and the BOE committee handling this need to know this. Thanks, Randi
Laura Pressman-McNamara March 02, 2013 at 06:56 PM
I wrote a comment on Sunday and today decided to look at all the responses to Sean's opinion article. What struck me as most disheartening is that there are parents who believe our latency/pre-adolescent children should already be preparing for the "real" world. Whatever happened to the theory of child development, having been studied by many psychoanalysts, doctors etc... All of whom determined that there are certain fundamental challenges and goals at each age level due to the development of the brain and nervous system to respond to internal and external stimuli. I know it sounds very clinical but the reality is that at 11-12 years old, their developmental milestone is not to be proficient in time management skills and prioritization. Don't get me wrong, time management is a critical lesson for all of us. However, our kids need to be kids. Because of the pace of our society, there is much more time spent as a "grown up" and less and less as a kid. How many of us wish we were kids sometimes and could focus on making friends, playing sports, dancing, drawing or singing (to name a few)? Our children deserve to involve themselves in age-appropriate endeavors. They will only learn to relate in the world by interacting with others, socializing. It is unfair for us to take that away from them," to pull the crayons out from under their hands" so to speak. I am in no way being sarcastic or naive, I just think we can't lose sight of how old they really are.
Randi Asher, Psy.D. May 06, 2013 at 04:24 PM
The critically acclaimed documentary, "The Race to Nowhere" will be aired at the GRHS tomorrow, Tuesday, 5/7, at 7 pm promptly. It is truly amazing that the BOE has arranged to have the films Director/Co-producer, Vicki Abeles come to lead discussion. This will be a very exciting night. Thank you to the BOE for responding to the voices of those concerned about our children's education, stress and workload. This event is not to be missed. Tickets can be purchased though the Glen Rock Community School. Hope to see you there!

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