Students, teachers discuss efficiency of homework policy

By Isabelle Chen,
HUB Correspondent–

Teachers, parents, and administrators met to make changes to the district’s previous homework policy last year. These changes included slightly less homework for high school students and ways to make teachers more aware of the policy’s regulations.

Now, one year later, the Davis Joint Unified School District’s homework committee will be meeting again to discuss feedback from parents and students, as well as the application of the policy itself.

The changes to the policy itself were minimal, according to English teacher Eleanor Neagley, who has been on the homework committee for more than two years. The policy still limits homework to 20 to 30 minutes a night for each class, aside from AP and Honors courses. The main adjustment was to make sure that teachers were following the guidelines.

Neagley believes in letting “kids discover who they are,” which is why she believes it is important to make sure teachers are following the homework policy.

 “We need the district office to really police it,” she said. “After an hour—especially when you’ve been in school all day—[homework] doesn’t take as well.”

            Sophomore Daryl Leung agrees with this fact. “It’s okay if it’s one to two hours, because you have [most of] the day to yourself,” she said. “[But] after two or three or four hours, it’s harder to concentrate.” 

            Though she is not taking any AP or Honors classes, to which the homework policy does not apply, Leung is often up until 2 a.m. doing homework, particularly if she has a family obligation that day.

“Because of my homework, I can’t hang out on a school day, or talk with my family much,” she said. “I can’t usually finish all my chores.”

            “It doesn’t seem like [teachers] actually estimated how long it would take us to do it,” Leung says about her homework level.

As a member of the DHS badminton team, junior Jenny Sangpolsit has to balance sports with four to five hours of homework a night. However, she tries to find ways to spread out her workload.

“I prioritize,” she said. “I first finish everything due the next day and sometimes check to see if there are any days where a boatload of homework is due.”

            Heidy Kellison, a parent serving on the homework committee, was concerned with the lack of free time secondary students had under the previous homework policy guidelines. “This is not entirely attributed to homework, but when students face hours of homework each and every night, we know it plays a role.”

            The most important element of the homework policy is the application of “achievable homework of high quality,” according to Kellison, meaning that homework will be given to help students learn, not just to keep them busy. She believes that this change, among others, has helped to improve balance in students’ lives. Many parents outside of the homework committee and their children also find the changes helpful; “less than a handful of parents” have had concerns about the new policy, and all of the students’ feedback has been positive, said Kellison.

            Within the next month, the DJUSD school board and homework committee will be meeting again. At this time, they will discuss the results of a survey sent to students, parents, and teachers, according to school board member Sheila Allen. The committee will then decide whether the policy is sound or if it needs “different implementation strategies.”

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