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posted: 8/6/2012 4:14 PM

D303 school board member starts push for more homework

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St. Charles Unit District 303 will start the school year with a close look at how much homework students have on an average school night. At least one school board member believes students aren't spending enough time hitting the books.

"There's a whole lot more to it than we need less homework so our kids can play baseball or football," school board member Judith McConnell said at a recent committee meeting. "It should be more a part of our curriculum, but I keep hearing from parents that their kids don't have any homework."

Fellow school board member Kathy Hewell said she finds that hard to believe. As one of the longest tenured members of the board, Hewell said she's had more than a few parents suggest students have too much homework.

"I also wonder what some kids tell their parents about their homework versus what their actual assignments are," Hewell said.

School officials will attempt to get a feel for the true homework load students have with a teacher survey. The survey will ask teachers if they assign homework, how often and how long they expect students to complete an average night of homework.

Superintendent Don Schlomann said the step after that would be to compare what teachers say to how parents feel about homework via a similar survey.

"We'll see if there's a disconnect," Schlomann said. "But I would tell you that if a student has six subjects and each teacher gave 30 minutes of homework, I can guarantee parents would be on my back about having three hours of homework."

Schlomann said it's also more reasonable to expect high school students to have more homework than an elementary student. But McConnell said no student should go through a school day just listening to the teacher and going home with no reinforcement.

"I don't see our (test) scores skyrocketing," McConnell said. "If they are going to learn what they are going to learn, they have to put in more time."

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