POTSDAM - Lawrence Avenue Elementary Principal Larry B. Jenne informed Potsdam Central School District Board of Education members this week he has informed students and their parents that they no longer have to spend upwards of an hour attempting to struggle their way through math homework.
The announcement, which is designed to ease both parental and student stress, comes following weeks of complaints from parents that their children are spending some times as much to an hour and a half to two hours on their elementary math homework under the new Common Core curriculum.
Students shouldnt have to spend more than 30 minutes on their homework, he said, explaining the 30-minute rule was meant as a per subject guideline.
Mr. Jenne said that as a rule of thumb many studies over the years have suggested first graders spend 10 minutes on their homework, with second graders spending 20 minutes, third graders spending 30 minutes and fourth-graders spending 40 minutes.
The change in amount of time students are spending on homework has been attributed to the newly implemented Common Core curriculum, which has also increased the amount of time teachers are taking prepping for lessons.
Board of education President Christopher C. Cowen, who has young children in the district, said the 30-minute rule was news to him, noting he has seen his children spend as much as two or three hours on math assignments.
Its probably in a folder or something somewhere, he said.
Mr. Jenne said if a student is unable to complete their homework in 30 minutes the parents or guardians should simply send a note in with the assignment the next day.
If they dont complete it, send in a note saying we worked on it, but were unable to complete it, he said.
Board member Frederick C. Stone Jr. also asked whether students who failed to complete their assignments were being punished for not doing so.
Have we gotten away from some of the penal things if homework is not being completed? he asked, to which Mr. Jenne nodded, Yes.
The Lawrence Avenue principal declined to comment when asked if the changes had anything to do with a parents meeting on Oct. 3 that ended with the stepfather of a student being charged with second-degree criminal nuisance after making statements that were perceived to be threatening in nature. That meeting was originally set up to discuss the concerns of a mother and her fiance with the impact the Common Core was having on her daughter, a student with special needs.
Brittany Lozano has alleged her daughters teacher was punishing the second grader by making her walk during recess if she didnt have her homework completed.
She (Ms. Lozanos daughter) came home and told us she cant bring in incomplete homework anymore, because she was being forced to walk for 10 minutes during recess. she said.
Ms. Lozano said she was livid when the learned their daughter was being forced to walk during recess.
That wouldnt be so bad, but my daughter is physically handicapped. She has a neurological disorder that affects her from the waist down, she said earlier this month. She has braces on her legs and walking is incredibly hard for her. To make her do that is cruel and unusual punishment. We were extremely livid.