After receiving a lot of media attention and some recognition from school officials, the parents in New Paltz who started a petition to ban homework during holidays and breaks still believe they can make a change.
Last week, parents met with principals Barbara Clinton and Richard Wiesenthal to see if vacation homework could end.
Following that meeting, Superintendent Maria Rice said that she was told by the principals that there are no teachers that assign homework the Thursday or Friday before a holiday, but there may be an assignment that a teacher had assigned that takes several weeks to complete and the deadline may have been after the holiday. “I was told by the principals that they expressed that they were not in favor of changing the policy, but felt it appropriate to speak with their staff about homework assignments over a holiday. They also explained that they had control over the implementation of policy, creating procedures and protocols, but not the creation of policy.”
Rice said that she was against changing the present policy, “as it provides the flexibility in allowing the professional educators to determine relevant and meaningful activities that enhance learning. I understand the concern of the parents who would like the time over a holiday to spend with family and without the pressure of school. I believe the principals explained that this can be achieved without a policy. All parents have to do is speak to the teacher, if indeed the teacher has an assignment with a deadline after a holiday.”
Alice Andrews — the mom who started the petition in the first place — sees some hope. “I’m optimistic that something is going to change,” Andrews said.
While Andrews and Ami Fixler posted the petition more than a month ago, news of parents looking to end homework for kids first broke last month.