Bud's Beat

By: Bud Pisarek, Loomis News Correspondent
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It’s been a long time since I did any homework. I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of extra school work in my early academic career. Fortunately, it seems I paid attention in class and lucked out when it came to my teachers leaning on me to do that extra effort. So I snuck by in my elementary days and got by in high school because I used the hour study hall period to catch up on any additional assignments. It was a complete 360 degree turnaround in my college days. I learned quickly to take good lecture notes, do homework and pay attention in the lab courses. I bring up this subject because of a talk radio show I stumbled upon last week concerning homework. The people calling in split about 50/50 on whether students had too little or too much homework. Surveys indicate 10 percent of parents think their kids are getting too much homework. Two-thirds of parents felt their children are getting the right amount and 25 percent said they were getting too little. This indicates that it is a small minority complaining about the overload on their children’s after-school assignments. I have heard about his controversy for a long time and that’s why I was surprised to hear the vigorous radio debate going on. It seems this debate takes place about every 10 years or so. Public attitudes on the subject are spurred on by current events. In the late 1950s, the Russian Sputnik launch gave rise to a new emphasis on science in our schools. High entry standards at colleges gave parents concern that their students needed as much preparation as possible to ensure their acceptance into the halls of higher learning. Harris Cooper, author of “The Battle Over Homework,” writes that homework was invented for a good reason and that students who do their homework had higher achievement scores than those who didn’t. Cooper also noted that that effect is strongest for kids in high school. “For elementary school students, homework has little impact on how well they will do in school,” he wrote. Having been a teacher for several decades, I would say that certainly some homework is necessary. It gives students good learning habits. And many of my present-day teacher friends agree with me. To parents who might feel their children are being overloaded, I suggest they contact each individual teacher to talk about their concerns.