Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 4, 2011

Pleasanton parents attend forum on elementary school homework

Most folks want less homework overall, none on weekends

by Glenn Wohltmann

Parents of elementary school children in Pleasanton had their say at last week's homework forum, the first this year for the School District.

One thing was clear -- most parents don't want any assignments on weekends or during vacation. When that option was presented, one woman answered by writing "NO" in foot-high letters. Although comments did show that some parents favored the idea of doing makeup work or assignments to stay current.

Other questions had a mixed bag of answers. A query about the value of homework, for example, led to comments ranging from home assignments "giving kids a sense of accomplishment" to homework "reinforcing classroom lessons."

Parents said -- and Jane Golden, the district's director of curriculum and special projects, agreed -- that homework for children in grades 1 to 5 has little effect on academic achievement.

At the forum, held at Hearst Elementary on Jan. 27, parents moved in groups to write comments about particular questions, and they generally approved of the process.

"It's beneficial to have a consensus," said Kelly French, the parent of a kindergartner and a third-grader. "In our house, it's sometimes been difficult to manage the workload."

Suzy Maska, the mother of a second-grader, may have summed up what most parents want.

"They should have less homework that's higher quality," Maska said.

The next forum, for parents of middle school children, is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Pleasanton Middle School multipurpose room. A third forum, for parents of high schoolers, will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Amador Valley High School's multipurpose room.

The results will help form a new homework policy that will go before the school board for a vote in May.


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