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Bedford Schools Want District-wide Homework Policy

BEDFORD, N.Y.—An often-dreaded topic in households across the country, the subject of homework took the floor on Wednesday night at the Bedford Central School District’s board meeting. The district, which does not have a technical homework policy, is looking to begin taking steps to ultimately creating one.

Board member Jennifer Gerken led the charge as the policy subcommittee chair, who brought the topic to the table for the board to discuss. Drew Patrick, the assistant superintendent of curriculum instruction, led the discussion.

“This new level of interest has come through the end of educational reform, but I do think we are in a minority in not having a policy,” Patrick said. “So I think there’s good reason in having this conversation.”

The board is looking to identify and quantify the subject. What is homework? Why do they give it, and what can it accomplish? Along with the basics, the board members considered what should be most valuable once a child leaves school and goes home.

“Some of the values would include something about balance. We shouldn’t be making assumptions about the value of time families have together, and that our work is more valuable than family time,” Patrick said. "And whatever the homework is, students should be able to do it. We shouldn't be able to send students home with tasks they’re generally unable to do.”

Jere Hochman, superintendent of Bedford schools, agreed with Patrick, also introduced the concept that homework should be parcelled out for the right reasons.

"We also have to figure out what isn't homework, or what it shouldn't t be. It shouldn't be busywork and it shouldn't ever be used for punishment,” Hochman said. “It’s not an area to pile stuff on.”

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