School Committee Passes New Homework Policy

Zoe Fritz-Sherman, Contributing Writer

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This past December, the School Committee passed a new policy that restricts when and how teachers are allowed to assign homework. The policy prevents teachers from assigning homework online without addressing it in class, and from assigning it over break, on snow days, or in a way that interferes with a student observing a religious holiday. While it’s uncommon for a new policy to be instituted halfway through a school year, both students and teachers agree that the policy clearly has good intentions, and could help students manage stress.

“The new vacation homework policy is good for students and staff. We should all be able to enjoy our breaks without having the obligation of assignments that are assigned over break or due as soon as we get back,” said CRLS English teacher Jennifer Sarmiento. The new policy is supposed to help alleviate the workload students are overwhelmed by all semester, and if new work isn’t assigned over break, students who are behind might be able to catch up.” However, Ms. Sarmiento says that she “honestly has no idea” how the policy is going to be enforced, and whether or not teachers are going to be held accountable, as many teachers are already ignoring the rules set in place by the new policy. Senior Alix Kruta has similar hopes about the policy as Ms. Sarmiento does, and believes that it has the potential to allow students to de-stress and give them the opportunity to relax during vacation. Kruta explained, “The policy makes it possible to actually have a physical and mental break from school, allowing students to come back more refreshed.” Kruta also noted, “As a senior with college apps already done, I don’t think the policy will help me that much in the future. However, previous years’ work [over break] has caused me such a headache that I hope that students appreciate the policy in the future.”

“We should all be able to enjoy our breaks without having the obligation of assignments that are assigned over break or due as soon as we get back. …””

While the goal of the new homework policy has received praise, the implementation of the policy has been complicated, for many teachers have been disregarding its guidelines. Sophomore Ivy Lyster said, “I can’t say that my teachers have been doing anything differently. Personally, I didn’t even know this policy was a thing, and I definitely don’t think my teachers have been doing this.” Kruta’s experiences have been similar to Lyster’s but she understood that things wouldn’t change right away. “Teachers don’t always follow the rules,” she explained. “I’ve had teachers recently post homework on Google Classroom that was not previously discussed in class. While this may not have been done on purpose, teachers are human. They make mistakes, [and] the result is unplanned work.”


This piece also appears in our January 2019 print edition.