The first topic was homework. Several parents have raised concerns about the amount given in town.
I don’t know about the elementary and middle schools. I do know that at Staples — the number one public school in the state, a distinction hardly achievable by magic — homework does not consist of filling out worksheets and copying Spark Notes.
In 2009 homework includes online discussion threads, group collaboration and innovative research. The walls — literal and figurative — between classrooms and the real world have crumbled. Students’ work habits mirror the real world, including the work world they will soon join.
I will not bore you with the board’s back-and-forth about homework, much of which could serve as anesthesia for my next root canal. I did perk up when a few parents described their middle school children’s lives, in which they do homework 78 hours a day, 952 days a year.
At Staples, teachers and administrators seem to work hard making sure students are placed at appropriate levels — meaning they receive appropriate amounts of homework.
That’s not my opinion alone, or other adults’. Yesterday afternoon a group of Staples students discussed this very topic.
“We knew there’s a lot of homework in AP and honors courses,” one girl said without complaint. “We knew what we were getting into. We’re not stupid.”
I am sure some parents have valid concerns about homework. I am also sure that — as is often the case — our kids are a lot smarter than we think.