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How much homework should students receive?

Readers respond to coverage of a homework debate.

Readers discuss what an appropriate amount of homework

Readers discuss what an appropriate amount of homework is for students. Photo Credit: Istock

In the 1950s, I attended the Glen Head School, which had a no-homework policy for the lower grades [“Debate on homework,” News, July 8]. We were not required to read in place of homework. We just went outside and played.

In seventh grade, we suddenly were given homework. We hadn’t had a chance to develop the habits and skills to succeed in seventh through 12th grade.

Sue Eckers, Northport

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired public school teacher.

The research is clear: Homework’s relationship to improving student achievement and student learning is minimal at best. The thinking that homework helps with student success is a myth that needs to be debunked. The myth of homework as an instructional tool is as insignificant as small class size, longer school days, grade retention, remediation and technology. The only real and most significant variable for student learning is the person in front of the room, the classroom teacher. Getting, identifying and keeping the best teachers for our students should be the real discussion. Nothing else matters.

Philip Cicero, North Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired superintendent of Lynbrook public schools and author of “The Seven Deadly Sins of the K-12 Education System.”

Reasonable homework is essential if it reinforces the class lesson and provides a level of discipline far too many students would eschew, but also a chance for parents to interact with children when all are seduced by the siren songs of the electronic age. But it must be age appropriate, say 10 minutes per grade: first grade 10 minutes, 12th grade two hours total.

As one who assigns homework in every class, I’ve seen that it helps students do better.

Richard M. Frauenglass, Huntington

Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct professor of mathematics at Nassau Community College.

Rather than abandon homework, improve it in quality and age-appropriate quantity. Repetition is not so awful. Musicians constantly practice to improve performance; discipline and attitude help them stick to it. Education is a team effort. Teachers work hard to instill a love of learning. Parents who encourage reading, library visits and problem solving are foundational in this process.

I fear that eliminating homework will increase time on iPads and with social media. For adults and children, these devices have become the default mechanism when there’s free time or boredom, or they take the place of human interaction. I suspect parents want children to stretch and grow rather than be glued to a tablet.

Ideally, all parents would spend quality time with children, but parents working multiple jobs are often exhausted, have little time or are not present. In short, improve homework, work with schools and put away the devices!

Susan Scalone, Shoreham

While I don’t believe in excessive amounts, I do believe homework is essential to learning. Students need to learn the importance of practicing at home what they learned during the day in school.

At a young age, my son refused to do anything beyond the 30 minutes’ worth his teacher required. The time he spent practicing spelling and mathematics or looking for a news article helped prepare him for the more intense in higher grades.

As a teacher, I always did all assignments before giving them out. In a low-level class they had to take me less than 5 minutes. If not, they were shortened. Doing away with homework is not the solution, making it reasonable is.

Linda Silverman, Bellerose Manor

Editor’s note: The writer is a former math teacher at Francis Lewis High School and is an adjunct lecturer at Queensborough Community College.

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