To the Editor:

As someone who taught many years before retiring, had a child in the district grades seven through 12 and has been a substitute in the district for about 15 years, I believe I am qualified to respond to the issue of the homework policy. And I see so many flaws in this process of the BOE.

Teachers have not changed over the years. It’s the “distractions” to learning that have. The biggest distraction and sinkhole of time are screens (enough said). Kids, even when my daughter was younger many years ago, were, and even more so today, are “overprogrammed” with outside activities. Academics should come first. It is all the outside activities (and the screens) that keep the kids “from being kids.”

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Here are my reactions to the polling and the process:

1. Parents and students were polled. Were teachers, the ones who actually know about their courses, what it takes to succeed in their classes and how much homework the students do or do not complete (not referring here to AP level, which is another issue), polled?

Parents who have never taught or even been in a classroom (as adults) are not qualified to even recommend what type of work or how much should be given in a particular class. 

Teachers should be equally represented (along with students and parents) in any and all discussions about homework policy.

2. As to the amount of work in AP classes — these are supposed to be college level courses and thus have to cover a lot of material. If a student chooses to take five AP classes, they should be prepared for a lot of work. 

Before we moved to Bridgewater, I taught in some of the top private schools in Manhattan. Students were only permitted to take two AP classes per year (sometimes three, but only after rigorous screening) because of work load.

3.  How can you put time constraints on homework since every child is different and works at different paces?

I could go on, but I think I’ve covered the basics.

Sincerely,

Betsy Becker

Bridgewater