The note above was written by a student, and even if you can't read every word, you can definitely get the gist. When I first read the note, I was surprised and saddened. After reading it several times I was infuriated, and not for the reasons you might imagine.
Too often, education takes away the joy of learning, the enthusiasm and creativity of so many students. But why? Let's think about homework for a minute. In a Time Magazine article Katie Reilly writes, "The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance. Some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework." There isn't a lot of evidence showing that homework actually impacts student achievement in a positive way. Especially, when you don't account for the type of homework given.
The letter above demonstrates how homework is viewed by this student, and probably by many of his peers. I get the feeling that this student doesn't think much about his/her education either, it seems as though there's a huge disconnect between student interest and what is being taught. Yet, this student was courageous enough to write this brutally honest response. What if we gave this student the opportunity to blog about his/her educational experience? What if his homework blog was then shared with faculty, parents, students, and stake holders in his community? What type of impact could this student have on his own education as well as all the other students in his school district?
When we give students a voice and choice in their learning, we have an opportunity to transform traditional education.
The question is, will this teacher take this letter and use it to do what's best for his/her student? Will the teacher fight for a better homework policy, one that works for each individual student ? I hope so!