Illustration of homework.
DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Montclair is taking a look at a first draft of a districtwide homework policy this summer, and wants parents to weigh in on the subject.

The Board of Education has posted a sample version of the policy on the district website. Parents are invited to send feedback before July 31 to homeworkpolicy@montclair.k12.nj.us.

“As a policy should, it reflects a broader philosophy and does not address specifics,” said the district statement accompanying the model policy.

In April, seven students from Montclair High School’s Civics and Government Institute presented the board with some recommendations on what a homework policy ought to include; the students had been doing their own research on the subject, which included interviewing students and teachers and consulting published academic research on the effectiveness of homework.

The board’s goal is to develop specific regulations for different grade clusters: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and high school.

“Homework should be a properly planned element of the curriculum, extending and/or reinforcing the learning experiences of the school,” the first recommendation in the model policy states.

Among the 13 recommendations are placing limits on how much homework is assigned, and taking into consideration the requirements of different classes, extracurricular activities and college preparation work.

Board President Laura Hertzog said last week that a number of board members, including Vice President Franklin Turner, would be part of the steering committee for the homework discussions, and that Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak would be heavily involved in the policy review as well.

Turner said Monday night after the meeting that there wasn’t likely to be any significant action taken on the homework policy in the near future. He said that because of the complexity of the homework issue, the district would probably need to have some town hall events with the community. In addition, he said, the homework policy committee and the board have to do a lot more research on homework, since there is a lot of data on the subject.

During the CGI students’ homework presentation in April, board members commented that a number of parents were in favor of large amounts of homework, partly because that was what they had received during their own high school years, and partly because they were of the opinion that regular homework improved study habits.

Other parents reported that the amount of homework their children were bringing home was having a negative impact on family life.