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on Dec 13, 2011
Big poster project due this week. All the stores in Palo Alto had sold out of poster board!
Homework that needs specific supplies, group projects that need to schedule to get kids together outside school hours and the Rube Goldberg physics project, should be banned. Too much stress on the whole family and very little educational benefit.
Teenagers are not college kids. If learning to work together as a team is important for a particular class, then give them time in class. Don't expect kids in different after school activities with different schedules who need parents to drive them somewhere, to be able to arrange to do this. It is just not possible (unless you think that 9.00 pm on a Sunday evening for 2 hours is a good way to start the school week.)
"Also tonight, a group of parents organized under the name We Can Do Better Palo Alto will propose a resolution asking the district to offer a basic "path to college" that does not exceed the minimum requirements of the California State University and University of California entrance requirements, known as the "A-G requirements."
The connection between this issue, and Homework should not be lost.
I would also recommend in high school that homework and assignments should have a much lower percentage contribution to the final grade. I, as a parent, have been quite frustrated with the treadmill pile of homework assigned in AP classes that may or may not aid knowledge. I think the student should have the option of letting homework marks contribute to the final grade or not. I know of at least one class where this is an option. There are cases where a student failed a course but received a 4 on the AP exam and passed all the tests. Maybe our teachers are taking to much pride in the rigour of their course instead of pride in conveying knowledge.
Well, I agree with the comments about group projects! As for homework counting towards the grade, I do think that it is important to be counted. Some students need homework to help their grade if they aren't great at taking tests and need the extra time that homework allows. If it doesn't count, who in their right mind would ever do it?
I agree with the complaint about the poster projects...how many nights did we have to run out to Target to buy poster board? I always wondered what kids did who did not have a parent available for this type of errand.
I'm also against diorama book reports and craft projects for science class that cost fifty bucks for supplies at Michaels.
We are on our way over to the Board meeting to argue for a normal lane in math and science, and to reject the sentiments in the letter from the Paly math department that certain children cannot learn Algebra 2. Please see the letter here:
Come out to the board meeting and support a path to college for all, even those who may not be super strong students in math.
An interesting NY Times article that is pertinent to the discussion of the letter mentioned by Michele Dauber above:
Class Matters. Why Won't We Admit It?
There is one school in Palo Algo that has a "No Homework" policy.
/agree with NO projects please... It's crazy around here .. In Elementary school we see amazing projects done by the best marketing directors, graphic designers and project engineers of silicon Valley. Oh, opps, where their kids supposed to do the projects? In high school, the logistic burden of finding several hours of unscheduled time among a random set of students is tremendous. These kids have a lot of obligations, jobs, sports, volunteer activities. They are simply not free for hours and hours to do arts and crafts boars, dioramas and clay representations of Western Expansion. They don't all know each other and can't necessarily meet at a common house. Also, let's not forget the expense and hassle of buying the art supplies. And truly, what do these projects measure? do they really provide the teacher with any real feedback for assessment?
There is often too much homework in math and history. The committee and BoE will go around in circles for at least half a decade because they will need to hear the public opinions before we see anything productive.
My disappointment with projects is the students with transportation issues and lack of interest who reside outside of Palo Alto who leech off the Palo Alto students who do all the work. Projects in middle school and elementary school are one thing, but high school grades count toward college so students should be accountable for only themselves and not have to share any work.
Last night at 11.30 pm my 16 year old Paly junior was cutting, gluing and coloring a pop up book for history homework!!
Is this useful homework for teenagers?
To Green Acres Mom, If your child is registered for AP classes, you should expect, and accept the extra homework. AP means Advanced Placement and refers to college level course work. AP does not mean extra credit on your child's college apps just for signing up for the class. I'm very tired of people who sign their kids up for AP courses demanding that they be easier or that sports coaches make practices easier for their overloaded kids.
Observer - Making a pop-up book for any class in high school is silly and a waste of time. I doubt it was for APUSH, probably just the regular US History class. Cooking for French class, coloring for History, collages for Spanish, model building for Physics, our kids spend a lot of time doing project that have little or nothing to do with the class they are taking (thank you Mr. Winston for getting rid of the "whose parents have the best tools" physics projects).
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