Homework policy debated in St. Charles

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 7:25 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – A school board member’s suggestion to revise the homework policy for St. Charles School District 303 met resistance Monday.

Adopted in 2006, the existing board policy states teachers may give homework to aid in students’ educational development and should not be assigned for disciplinary purposes. Additionally, it asserts that class time should not be used primarily for homework completion.

In presenting her proposal during the Policy Committee meeting, Judith McConnell emphasized the importance of homework, describing it as an “uncostly way” of improving student learning.

Her policy calls for homework to be assigned regularly and appropriately and states that it should not be done in class.

“We’re foolish to ignore this opportunity to increase the learning time our children have,” McConnell said.

Pam Turriff, St. Charles Education Association president, said using the last minutes at the end of class to begin homework is acceptable because students can ask teachers questions.

But, she noted, the lack of homework isn’t a problem.

“They already do it,” Turriff said. “Plenty of it.”

McConnell’s policy also stated homework is to be graded – with grades added to the student record – and returned so students can see what they have learned and still need to learn.

Turriff said teachers disagree that homework should be graded.

“Homework is a time to make mistakes,” she said.

Parent and teacher Jenny Santos said feedback on homework isn’t always helpful. Stickers and grades don’t help students understand their learning targets, she said.

Board President Steve Spurling described the policy as “too much micromanagement.”

“I would leave it as is,” he said.

At Superintendent Don Schlomann’s suggestion, the committee agreed to postpone the topic because it wasn’t urgent.

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