Galloway Township schools consider eliminating weekend and holiday assignments
May 25, 2011By Emily Landgraf
No more pencils. No more books.
This may be the case for students in Galloway Township schools from Friday to Sunday if the district decides to revise its current homework policy, getting rid of weekend and holiday homework.
“There are no courses in college about what makes good homework,” Superintendent Annette Giaquinto said. “Homework should be something that the majority of children should be able to do on their own or with minimal parental assistance.”
Giaquinto said the district is considering doing away with weekend and holiday homework based on research about good homework practices, as well as opinions of teachers, parents and even some middle school students.
The district may decide that homework can only be assigned Monday through Thursday and that only 10 minutes of homework multiplied by a student’s grade level can be given each night. For example, third graders would be given about 30 minutes of homework every evening.
Giaquinto said, based on the district’s research, weekend and holiday homework didn't have any positive impact on students, and often had a negative impact on family structure. She said the district wants to ensure students are not spending hours on busywork, preventing them from spending adequate time on extracurricular activities and with their families.
While this may sound like a dream come true for students in Galloway Township, some school board members are worried that parents have more time to help kids with homework over the weekend, according to the Associates Press.
Dean Sharon J. Sherman of Rider University’s School of Education said she did not think there would be any harm in eliminating homework over the weekend and holidays.
“At Rider we prepare our teacher candidates to assess their students in a variety of meaningful ways,” she said. “Homework assignments can be used to extend the learning that happens in the classroom. Spending quality time with friends, family and community members is an important part in the development of children and adolescents. Dispensing with homework assignments over holidays and weekends is a way to enhance this time."
Giaquinto said she hopes the first reading and vote on the new policy will take place at the next school board meeting on June 27, and that the second and final reading and vote will take place in August.