School complaint

mom2emallFebruary 22, 2009

I am so aggrevated with the school system in which I live. Before purchasing our house here we looked into the school district. We looked into the state funding, state test scores, income breakdown, demographics, and even saw that they were rated one of the top ten schools in this part of the state.

So a few years into this school and my kids and I are overwhelmed!!

First off I HATE the grading scale.

A 94-100 C 74-79

B+ 90-93 D+ 70-73

B 84-89 D 64-69

C+ 80-83 F Below 64

I think for elementary public school it is harsh. I always had the breakdowns by A's were 90-100, B's were 80-90, and so on.

Second I hate the amount of homework. They go to school for 7 hours a day and then come home with homework in almost all subjects each night. Even on weekends they have homework. That bothers me.

Now I see why they were reated so high. Sure kids are doing well on state tests....but they are also burnt out!

My son gets very frustrated almost daily and needs constant help with his homework. My middle sd spends hours each night doing her homework even though she has an IEP and is in some lower classes. My older sd is at the high school and they seem a lot more lax on work. She has little homework because she gets a majority of it done in study hall and she has just always been a great student.

UGGGHH. Anyone else have issues like this?

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Have you spoken to other parents? Does the school has standards for amount of homework? The scale is a little harder to interpret -- teachers can makes tests easier or harder.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:43PM
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my kids all have homework every sinlge night including weekends and adding to that for the two older ones (4th and 5th grade) they have projects that they have to do on top of the homework and what not...

Sometimes I feel like it is too much sometimes I think it is a bunch of busy work that is not actually helping... but overall especially for our oldest... homework is needed. He needs the help. He needs the added effort of a specific assignment that will allow him to practice the skills he learned in the classroom. (or in alot of cases relearn them because he wasnt paying attention in class)

Our kids have the 10% grading scale... but we always had the same scale as you described growing up in our district.

and btw unless shortening homework is written into IEP it will not happen... it pays to be specific with IEPs (in my experiance)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 1:19AM
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"I always had the breakdowns by A's were 90-100, B's were 80-90, and so on.'

This is pretty standard. The one you are describing sounds odd to me---I student taught in a public school district and then taught at a private elementary for a couple years. Both used the typical 10% grading scale.

How old are your kids?

My DD is in 1st grade at a private elementary and she has homework Mon-Thurs nights, never on the weekends. (I think that changes around 3rd grade, though.)

Her homework load isn't bad---just 1-2 pages of work a night. I am surprised (not in a bad way, though) that she has 3 tests every Friday---spelling, math and DOL (daily oral language.) The kids don't have to study for math or DOL tests, though, they do those reviews at school. We only do her spelling review at home.

I have talked to parents of older kids, though, and 4th-5th graders seem to have 1-2 hrs of work a night.

I went to a private highschool and we were allowd to have 1 hr/homework a night per class. Broken down, that could mean 3-4 hours a night! (We did not have EVERY class EVERY day so that meant, at the most, we could be preparing for 3-4 classes for the next day.)

I don't think work is a bad thing for kids---they do have to learn good study habits at some point and if a student doesn't know how to allocate her time and study/work effectively, college is going to be a rude shock.

But I do think preparation needs to age-appropriate. There is no reason a young child should have hours of homework a night.

Is the school appropriately following your middle schooler's IEP? She may be entitled to less homework or even to an extra study hall during the day if need be. I would check into that.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:51AM
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My niece is in 2nd grade and amount of homework she has to do is overwhelming. way too much. On the other hand my DD went to very demanding school and I do not regret. In a long run it is worth it. but if your kids have special needs maybe they can have some more accommodations.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:37AM
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UGH. The girls are in Kindergarten and the amount of Homework they have is ridiculous. Aside from the crappy worksheets they have a literacy folder and we are expected to sit down and drill them on words and read sentences every night. If we sat down and did it the "right" way it would take us almost two hours to finish.

Jonathan works nights and we have a new born so it's extremely frustrating. Plus the girls are seriously burnt out and already hate school. It got so bad that J sent a letter back in the literacy folder wanting to know when he was going to get his check from the school! I think the problem is the schools focus on these state tests the kids take and for fear of scoring poorly they drill the unholy hell out of the kids. I remember the Principal bragging about how they scored the highest in the county on some kindof test and now I know why. They slave drive the kids!

I know it's good for parents to help their kids at home but helping and actually doing the teaching are two different things. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't mostly just busy work.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 1:58PM
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I never helped DD with the homework. I am serious, never. I think if children need help with homework, it is either the homework is too difficult or children have special needs. If I would need to help wiht the homework (more than maybe occassionally), i would contact school and find out what is the issue or see if my child has some deficits. I was involved mother and did bunch of stuff wiht DD but not the homework.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 3:50PM
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I ALWAYS have to help my sd and ds with homework! If I did not help my sd with it she would be at the table from the time she got home till the time she went to bed! I have to keep her on task.

With my ds I have to help him or he rushes through it and gets tons of wrong answers. I think he is still waiting for some prize for finishing first all the! He will also write so messy nobody would be able to read it.

A lot of the time I think their teachers skim through everything all day and then send all this homework home so we can teach the stuff at home because they have so much material to cover for these state tests!! Whoever thought of these state tests I am sure did not have this in mind.

When I was teaching we did drill and kill too! We had so much to cover for the state tests and we were evaluated by our principal on state tests. If our state test scores were not high enough one year then the next year we were on a type of probation. Not official..but the principal would hound people and be in their faces all the time. For weeks before the actual state tests we did practice tests in class and sent home practice tests for the kids to do at home and bring back so we could grade it in class. We were teaching to the test instead of teaching so kids could learn.

We had strict guidelines on how much time we could spend teaching on one topic. When my class had a hard time with one topic I went to the principal and asked if I could spend an extra day or two on it. Her reply was that I needed to be exactly where all the other teachers were at and I had to follow "the schedule". Because we had weekly quizzes that were scantron. All classes results were then put onto a graph and our principal held weekly meetings to pit the teachers against eachother by showing whose class did better than whose. And if your class did the worst that week all eyes were on you!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 4:31PM
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finedreams, that a child needs help with homework is not an indication that the homework is too difficult or that the child has special needs. My DD is a 97+ student and needs help sometimes with homework. I am an Ivy League grad and sometimes needed help through my school years with homework. It really says nothing. Homework should be somewhat challenging, imho.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 4:39PM
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Our kindergartener has homework two nights during the week; language arts one night, math the other. She also is expected to read every night. We live in a very good district that is ranked high in the state. I think they are trying to start the homework expectations early, so as not to shock them when they are a couple years older. My SD15 is in 10th grade, all honors classes. She has homework every night in 3 or 4 classes...totaling 1-2 hours. She doesn't have a study hall, but may have one next year as she will be taking 2 hours at the university in the morning, and will need a "traveling" study hall. I'm actually surprised she doesn't have more homework.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 6:22PM
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mariealways, it is just my opinion. Homework is for students to practice, not for parents. Yes of course it has to be challenging. Tell me my DD graduated with International Baccalaurette diploma in addition to regular high school diploma. So i can tell you about is very easy now compare to IB school. But she didn't need help. If children need help with homework on a regular basis, it is alarming. What do kids suppose to do if parents are unable to help or aren't educated?

mom2emall, that's exactly my point! Teachers expect parents to teach at home. That's not what the homework is for, not for parents to teach their children. My point is that if my child needs me to reteach what was taught in school on a daily basis, then there is something wrong wiht that picture.

Also if children get used to parents do homework wiht them what is going to happen in high school? I have graduate degree and yet DD had some subjects in high school I didn't even know where to start. No one can expect parents to be experts in all subjects.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:13PM
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It seems that we have the opposite problem as many of you.

My SS is 10 and in 5th grade and goes to a school in a different state. This is the same place where my DH and I grew up. The schools are okay, but not in the top of the US that is for sure. Anyhow, when he first started school they put him in this school and he actually had to be on a waiting list as it was so popular.

Well, he got in and we all thought it seemed like a great school. During his kindergarten year they asked to test him for the gifted and talented program. Well, he tested into it and both of his parents decided against putting him in it because they thought he was too young and wanted him to have a traditional first year exp.

Well he has been asked to test for the same program every year and has tested into it. The problems is after first or second grade he figured out school is really easy for him in the regular program. His dad and I had tried to get his mom to put him in it because we felt he was getting into trouble because he was bored. Well, she and SS did not want to and so he was not switched. She now regrets this and DH regrets not being more forceful with the issue.

So as he kept on with this school DH and I started to notice that the whole fun learning atmosphere did not stop in kindergarten and continued through 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. Now, I think learning should be fun, but there is a point where it seems like they try to make it too fun at this school.

He has had problems with talking and not listening to his teachers and they seemed to let us know there were problems and then brushed them off when we tried to address them with him and them. His mom has always complained that they brush off her concerns and on and on.

There is no challenge for him at this school. He puts very little effort into school and gets great grades. It is frustrating to all of us that he half tries at everything. His dad told him that he has a gift and he needs to stop taking advantage of it and start trying more in school.

They teach math in a very odd format and actually had a meeting with the parents (according to BM) about how they are teaching math so the parents can help at home. It is not the standard math. I guess the parents were peeved and asked why can you not just teach normal math.

He seems to have very little homework even in the fifth grade. They have stopped doing spelling tests and current events. He recently spent two weeks on a fictional story at school. He lied and did not do it and then threw it together, but was caught by us doing so. After all of the fuss we mad about all of this HE ended up grading himself. His mom is really upset with the school fears he may be behind when he goes to junior high. Now, I think he will be fine as even though they have different teaching styles they still have to adhere to state requirements.

There is this whole everyone wins all the time attitude about the school that I just do not agree with.

They have an incentive party where if you get all of your work handed in on time they have a party for those who did their work. One year it was video game party and one year it was going to the movies. Well, SS did not get his work in and his mom even told the teachers do not let him go. Guess what they let him make up the work and go to the party. I get that they are just kids, but then what is the incentive? I mean just get it in eventually and you can party? I think that it should be get it all in on time or no party.

There is no discipline in this school. The kids run wild. It is a lighthouse program where they combine grades and have team teaching. I just feel it is not the program for him and we have felt that way for a long time. Oh and get this... He does NOT get letter grades. Is this a new thing for all schools? He gets numbered 1 through 4 on his report cards and papers. So he has never had an A or F. I think JR high will be a shock when he gets grades.

I have learned a lot through his school process. When I was a kid it seemed that all kids sat in a desk with a teacher at the front of the room and we learned. It was not always a bore and it was not always fun, but that is life.

In our state there are all of these different schools: Core, charter, IB world, and on and on. I think that we will be doing more homework on what type of school is best for our little one(DD 3). I am hoping that the school down the street is as good as I have heard, but the first sign that it is like my SS's school and she is not going there. I guess I am more for back to basics learning, but not necessarily as hardcore as core schools are.

Sorry I guess I wrote a book!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:51AM
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mom1sm2, I hear your frustrations. I had to move so DD could attend school of our choice.

When it is time for your DD to go to school, if it is possible make an effort to enroll to IB school or IB programme if IB school is not available in your area.

Go to and search for your state. It is worth to graduate with IB diploma, believe me. It also keeps kids out of trouble, there simply is no time to get in trouble and it will ensure that your child will be surrounded by other intellectuals, not dangerous crowd.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:26AM
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The kindof homework the girls get sent home with is flash cards and sentences/books we are supposed to read with them. They get the crappy ditto sheets too but all we have to do with those is ride their cases to make sure they complete them. The fluency folder crap is ridiculous though. They come home with the cards (and there are ALOT of them) and the book or sentences and a paper for the parents to fill out.

We are supposed to mark which words they got wrong and how long it took for them to complete the sentences/book andd sign it. Keep in mind there are TWO of them! It FORCES the parents to sit down and do the work. Don't get me wrong...I'm not against helping a child learn but I agree with you that they are supposed to be LEARNING at school and practicing at home not vice versa. Homework should not require total aadult supervision. We have very little time since we both work and we have a new born at home.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:26PM
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that was my point doddle. if homework requires total adult supervison, then homework is either too much too hard or too stupid. some adults can barely read, how can they help their children? (don't mean anyone here but it is the case wiht some parents)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:55PM
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