Gann Academy Homework Restriction sign now

Students at Gann Academy / NJHS are being given too much homework, much of which is relatively unimportant to the educational process. It infringes on the social life and health of students and cuts out valuable non-school related activities.

With about 42 hours of school in a five day week, 7 or 8 academic classes plus several required electives, athletics, and arts courses that often require time commitments after school, as well as out-of-school activities, and considering the fact that many students who attend Gann Academy do not work on Friday nights or Saturdays for religious reasons, there is very little time left over for homework or otherwise.

How much time do students have for homework?
Let's do a little math. There are 168 hours in week. Cut out 25 hours for Shabbat, and there is 143 hours left in a workweek. The take out 42 hours spent at school and 101 hours remain. Assuming students sleep the recommended 8.5* hours a night, only 41.5 hours are left to work with. Get rid of a conservative estimate of 1.5 hours per each of the 6 nights in question on necessities (like eating) and you have 31 hours left. Take out another 1.5 hours five days a week on transportation (recognizing some students spend far longer than that every day just to get to school, some more than 2 hours) and you get 23.5 hours left. Divide that into the 6 days and you have 3.916 hours a night left to use for homework.

Official school policy is 20 minutes of homework per class per night. In reality, its not at all unusual for a student to receive more than 2 hours from one class per week. With the usual eight subjects, that comes to 16 hours of homework a week (neglecting the fact that most students often take other courses, such as extra languages and elective courses, which also give an equal amount of homework). Thats almost 3 hours of homework a night. Also, ask any student at Gann about homework and they will tell you that oftentimes, like at the end of a trimester, it can get up to 4 or 5 hours. In addition to that, students are expected to do 18 hours of community service on top of everything else.

It is ridiculous to expect students to so wholly devote their day-to-day life to academics. To leave so little time for doing things that dont relate to school is preposterous, and just saying thats the way it is doesnt help anyone.

It is also undeniably unhealthy for students under such constant academic pressure. Pressure to do well in classes, to get the homework done, to get As, to get into college, etc. Adding more unneeded pressure to a teenagers life is just not a good idea.

Too much homework also means less sleep for students. Lack of sleep results in:
* decreased attentiveness
* decreased short-term and long-term memory
* inconsistent performance
* delayed response time
Each one of these things causes poor class performance. In addition, sleep deprivation can cause bad tempers and bad driving. Assigning as much homework as they do now, the entire idea is self-defeating and ineffectual. It begins a viscous cycle: the less sleep a student gets, the worse s/he performs at school; the worse s/he performs a school, the harder the homework is; the harder the homework becomes, the longer it takes; the longer it takes, the less sleep the student gets and so on and so forth.

Most students at Gann Academy will report high stress levels throughout the year. According to the experts at Healthy Living, sustained stress can lead to some types of depression, headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, and a weakened immune system and in more extreme cases may cause high blood pressure and increases inclination for heart disease. This is serious.

Most teachers and administrators have the simplistic notion that work is good. This is not the case. The idea that all work is good is flawed. Most of the schools homework is unnecessary and does not further the educational process. Busy work has been shown not to reinforce ideas effectively in teenagers, let alone teach anything. Knowing how to draw a graph or understanding word uses is what belongs in the classroom. Homework like drawing a graph or memorizing definitions is practically useless in the long run.

Students require a balance between family, school, and extra-curricular activities. In short, here are the main reasons to limit further the amount of homework and the kind of homework given to students:

"Busy work" is often assigned as homework with no clear purpose or value.
Students are often overloaded with homework from 8 classes, extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs, resulting in stress and fatigue.
Commuting time to and from school cuts into available time for out of school activities.
Time for family, friends, and leisure activities is compromised.

The insensitivity and inattention of the schools policies toward this matter is appalling. This is not the result of just a couple lazy teenagers complaining for the sake of complaining this is the school community saying enough.

We, the Undersigned, propose a set of regulations on homework limiting busy work and unnecessary work just for the sake of work. This is in order that Gann Academy may have healthier and happier students, and to give meaning to the term, student life.

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* Where we got the info:
www.KidsHealth.org
McGrawHills Teaching Resources (Glencoe.com)
The Case Against Homework (Sarah Bennet and Nancy Kalish) http://www.thecaseagainsthomework.com/
www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin182.shtml
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Rowena MillerBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
the Administration and Faculty of Gann Academy

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