Suffolk schools cut down on homework after parents' complaints

Research shows that elementary school students here in Suffolk are doing up to 90 minutes of homework per night

SUFFOLK - SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Parents in Suffolk say homework is causing more harm than good and it has gotten the attention of the school board, as they decided to change their homework policy.

 

 “When I started to research it, I found that actually there is no benefit to homework at elementary school,” said parent Cathy Sturgeon.

 

Sturgeon has a fifth grader, a third grader and a first grader at Driver Elementary School. She said homework is taking over their lives.

 

It can take students in third, fourth and fifth grade up to 90 minutes some nights, that’s more than any other school district in Hampton Roads.

 

 “I can’t stand by and bite my tongue any more when my family is being negatively impacted,” said Sturgeon.

 

She said there is no reason her boys should have to choose between soccer or homework, or her daughter be told she can’t go to the playground after school.

 

 “And she says to me, ‘I work hard at school why can’t I play now,’ and I don’t have a good answer, she did work hard at school, she is a first grader, she should be able to play now,” said Sturgeon.

 

So Sturgeon brought this issue before the school board and they listened.

 

“It took really the parents who were overwhelmed by the homework, ‘oh my gosh, what are we doing, we need to look at this,’” said school board member Linda Bouchard.

 

This month the school board decided to make a compromise, keep homework, but drastically cut it down: 10 to 20 minutes for first grade, up to 20 for second grade, up to 30 for third grade and so on.

 

The new policy goes into effect in January.

 

Bouchard, a retired teacher, said her own granddaughter is often going to sleep two hours past her bedtime due to homework.

 

 “I just think it’s pushing the kids too hard and they aren’t allowed to be kids anymore,” said Bouchard.

 

Father Joel Stewart said he thinks homework is beneficial but it shouldn't be torture. There has to be some common sense.

 

 “I want him to have some homework so he’s responsible but at the point when you are having a child that’s upset, arguing and crying and it’s turning into an hour plus activity at night that seems like a lot for a fourth grader,” said Stewart.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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