The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Board of Education’s proposed policy limits student homework

Selena Li
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, high school students receive an average of 6.8 hours per week.

New changes to the homework policy for all MCPS students will soon be finalized and approved by the Board of Education. The policy is currently out for feedback from MCPS students, families, staff and community members who can weigh in online. It was proposed in an effort to ensure that homework retains its educational benefits and does not overwhelm and confuse students. 

Previously, elementary and middle school teachers were supposed to assign homework three to five times a week. Now, the policy states that teachers “can best determine the nature, frequency, and length of homework assignments.” They are able to adapt different strategies to instruction as well, which may include “providing students opportunities for seeking homework support during class, as feasible and appropriate.” 

The changes address various aspects of homework and how it impacts students’ lives. While they do not limit how much homework teachers can assign (the word “limit” is not mentioned in the draft), they could still end up reducing the amount of homework elementary and middle schoolers get, as well as address why homework is so frustrating for these students. 

North Bethesda Middle School teacher Natacha Steimer agrees with this change. “Any pre-existing policy that required a certain number of homework assignments is not in students’ educational interests. It leads to artificial assignments that are there to meet that county criteria, as opposed to assignments that are there, in order to meet the student’s learning needs or to meet the curriculum needs. So in my opinion, the key in homework would be to give teachers, the professionals, the flexibility to decide how much homework needs to be assigned that week based on the learning objectives, and based on where their students are, and their needs,” Mrs. Steimer said.

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The policy also removes a previous section which described homework as “beneficial and important in a student’s overall program.” 

Many elementary and middle school students who are impacted by the policy are supportive of it, saying that many of their peers are overwhelmed by the workload. 

Haohan Wang, a sixth grader at Eastern Middle School, said that the workload “is just right” for him but that many of his peers feel that teachers assign more than the required three to five homework assignments a week.

“I prefer completing homework at school so I don’t have to do it when I get home, and having more free time at home helps me focus on my other activities as well as gives me time to relax and enjoy myself,” Wang said. This reflects many of the goals outlined by the policy.

Mrs. Steimer understands these issues and urges her students to be cognitively self-aware, and figure out why the homework is taking too long, whether it be efficiency, understanding or volume. This reflects a reality in which students are often left struggling with homework at home, without any helpful advice or feedback that they might otherwise receive from their teachers in class.

Another important change the Board made was to recognize and take action on the special needs of students in the county with Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plans. The draft states that these students “shall be provided home access to required accommodations and supplementary aids and services, such as assistive technology and accessible formats, needed to complete assigned tasks.”

Furthermore, teachers assigning homework on the weekend was another main point of discussion in developing the policy.  

“Students are already in school for 35 to 40 hours. They get homework on top of that, with extracurriculars on top of that. So I really do believe that the weekend is that time where students can have rest and relaxation, especially in this time, where really, we are having a mental health crisis for our students,” senior and Student Member of the Board Sami Saeed said at the March 19 meeting.


If you would like to voice your opinion on an issue you feel is relevant to our community, please do so here. Anyone is able and welcome to submit a Letter to the Editor, regardless of journalistic experience or writing skills. Submissions may be published either online or in a print issue.

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About the Contributors
Ved Bhise
Ved Bhise, News Writer
Ved is excited to join The Tide for his first year as a freshman. He is interested in current events (both local and national). Outside of school, he likes to listen to music, volunteer, play with his dog and watch movies with his family.
Selena Li
Selena Li, Graphics Editor