The Crosby Chronicles: Homework needs to change

Recently, the L.A. Unified School District passed a requirement stipulating that a student’s homework grade should consist of no more than 10% of the final grade.

As a long proponent of limiting the amount of homework students are given, I applaud LAUSD for implementing such a courageous measure.  Unfortunately, just last week LAUSD Supt. John Deasy suspended the new policy in order to have further public input, even though there were already discussions held for 18 months  The earliest for any new homework policy to be in effect will be the 2012-13 school year.  Don’t you just love bureaucracies?

Does it really take years to figure out that kids are given too much homework, or that some teachers overemphasize the important of mindless busy work over in-class assignments and tests?

The one aspect of my kids going back to school that I dread is the homework assignments.  Much of it is repetitive, but all of it puts strain on the parent-child relationship.  The daily question “have you done your homework?” will reverberate throughout every household with school-age children once again very soon.  I don’t look forward to constantly referring to my second grader’s weekly packet, and signing every day for every book that he needs to read every night.

As a high school English teacher I am very mindful of minimizing the amount of homework I assign, aware that my students have five other teachers who may not minimize it as much as I do.  I also make it my policy not to deliberately assign massive projects over three-day weekends or vacation periods.  It’s important that kids be given time to be kids after the school day is over, and that they spend as much time with their family as possible.

School work is best done at school with the people best able to help the children—the teachers.

Brian Crosby is a teacher at Hoover High School and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.  He can be reached at

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