Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Anti-Homework Shenanigans

Earlier this week, the CBS News channel in Dallas/Fort Worth ran an article on their website reporting on the consideration of a new homework policy for the Plano [Texas] Independent School District. Apparently, their middle school grading and assessment committee has been studying the homework issue since late 2007. The objective of their work?
To [e]nsure that grading practices are consistent with the philosophy that grades should be our most accurate reflection of student knowledge and achievement.”
Their current leanings on the subject?
“According to several Plano Independent School District teachers, they have been informed that beginning next school year, homework will no longer be required of middle school students. And the grades for homework assignments that are assigned will not apply to students’ report card grades.”

- snip –

"As for deadlines for assignments, teachers say the Plano Independent School District is considering placing no deadline on any assignment completed outside of the classroom --- so students could turn in the work at any time."
So, let me see if I understand this correctly: the school district wants to make certain that the grades assigned to their students accurately reflect their understanding of and achievement in the subject matter at hand; the school district wants these highly accurate grades to be based on homework that is not required, as well as other assignments (presumably not homework) that can be handed in at any time (presumably before the end of the grading period); and the district will not use these highly accurate homework grades on report cards.


Whatever happened to accountability? How are the children of Plano ever going to learn accountability? Better yet, how are the children of Plano ever going to learn anything at all?

The teachers’ response?
Faculty members…said they were caught off guard when they were told about the plan recently. They were also surprised that their students will be required to do less work. One teacher reportedly wept when she heard the news.
I think I would weep too…if I didn’t have to put the finishing touches on a homeschool presentation about how to grade homework.