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Homework: L.A. Unified is doing theirs over again

July 20, 2011 |  1:10 pm

Homework

Applause for school officials who are willing to admit to a mistake. A couple of months ago, leaders at Los Angeles Unified School District sent out a staff bulletin outlining a new homework policy to take effect this summer. Bottom line: Teachers could assign as much homework as they wanted, but it couldn't count for more than 10% of a student's grade. Some teachers complained that they have enough trouble getting students to fulfill their assignments and that this would make homework all but ignorable.

The policy was, a Times editorial said, a muddled affair with an unclear philosophy and contradictory intentions. One school official said that poor children with difficult home lives should not be held overly accountable for doing their homework because it's harder to do in an overcrowded home where they might have many family duties. At the same time, they said students should be held responsible for doing term papers and book reports as homework, even though those are more challenging.

On Tuesday, Supt. John Deasy announced that the district was putting the whole thing on ice for now and having a deputy superintendent seek out opinions and information from parents, teachers and the board.

Here are a couple of unsolicited suggestions for a better policy, including not allowing teachers to assign homework that they aren't willing to take the time to correct, and not giving homework that kids can't possibly do themselves. I demonstrated that I could do fifth-grade homework back in fifth grade and see no reason to prove it all over again.

What are your suggestions for the ideal homework policy?

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Teacher quality must be Job 1 of education reform in L.A.

Jobs and education: An ideal world where no one makes less than $20,000

--Karin Klein

Photo: Senior Keith Hernandez, 18, does his homework at school at Marshall High School. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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