Skip to content
Advertisements

Dublin Students Struggle with Too Much Homework and Too Little Sleep

September 27, 2015

DUBLIN, CA — We recently received the following letter from a Dublin parent which was sent to the Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees regarding the homework policy and longer school day. Is this your child’s experience?

To:  Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees,

I have a child who currently attends Dublin High School and is a sophomore. I myself have a background in Education. I am writing to you because I have been increasingly concerned with the time-consuming amounts of homework that the children at Dublin High School (as well as the middle and elementary schools) receive, and the impact on the ability for students to have a full night’s sleep.

We were all hopeful that the extra “Gael Period” would alleviate the amount of homework, however we have found it has only made the situation worse. In addition to having to stay at school longer each day, teachers are piling on even more homework because classroom periods have been shortened and teachers seem to believe the misconception that the students will get all of this extra homework completed during the Gael Period. We have also found that teachers themselves are not following the District’s current homework policy which calls for less homework.

After reading several articles on the importance of sleep it caused me to ponder, “Why has the Dublin Unified School District continued to push our students to the brink of over-scheduling, over-testing, and the relentless pressure to achieve”? It’s not worth it! What is worth it is well-balanced, happy, contented students that have time for extracurricular activities, family, church, sports and time to just be kids! We don’t need our students to disengage, have stress-related illness like burnout, anxiety, depression, and unfortunately even suicide.

Dublin High School has consistently tried to raise the bar and keep up with surrounding schools. If this is the case, then we need to heed the words of wisdom from other schools that have already implemented changes (as noted in the documentary Race to Nowhere) before the problem becomes worse and we start losing our kids to drugs, alcohol, and even suicide as escapes from the stress that has been created by homework overload and a lack of sleep.

I am asking that you place this item on your next agenda and begin the change now… not next year, not two years later, but NOW while we still have the opportunity to see the positive effects of something as simple as this. Please, I urge you to give these kids back their lives before something drastic happens to them. Let’s reduce the amount of homework, let them sleep an extra hour, and let them be kids again!  I’m certain the results you see will be life changing for every family in the City of Dublin. I’m suggesting that Dublin be the leader in change and let others follow us!

Sincerely,

Dana Ogden, Dublin Parent

Advertisements
14 Comments
  1. September 27, 2015 2:57 pm

    Your cannot assume from your situation that this is the norm for all students and that Gael period isn’t working or that all teachers are piling on extra homework. The exact opposite is happening with my sophomore at DHS. His teachers this year all stated that unless it is a project or studying for an exam test , the majority of homework will be whatever work was not completed in class. I don’t believe all teachers follow the same rule and feel very fortunate that his teachers this year do so. My son also utilizes his time during Gael period to complete work. I do not know the specifics of your daughters situation but it does not apply to all students.

    Here are my observations. A lot of the students who I see/know are struggling, are taking multiple (2-3) AP courses. AP courses are college courses and come with college workload. You cannot expect to take college courses in high school and have minimal homework. I agree there is a push to succeed and but I think the district/counselors need to better inform families and students of the workload for AP courses. This is High School. Not all students are ready to be in college and should not be pushed to take them if they are not ready. But as a parents, most of us know what type of courses our children are capable of handling. Course selections should be made with your student after discussing all areas of needs, wants, abilities and future placement beyond high school.

    Again every student situation is different. There are 2,300 plus students at Dublin High. I’m sure there are many different opinions and stories. Having a discussion on the agenda is definitely a first step for any concerns.

    • Dana Ogden permalink
      September 28, 2015 10:49 pm

      Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for your comments and for allowing me clarify some information that was not published in my original letter. While trying to be brief I realize I didn’t include some information that will be helpful to this discussion.

      Our daughter is not taking AP classes. Also, we are not “high achiever type parents” that over enroll our children or push them to do more. She is a bright and capable child that loves school but also enjoys sports, church, and free time. We are seeking a balance here.

      During her first year at DHS she had unreasonable amounts of homework and we found her having to stay up all hours of the night to finish it most nights of the week, just like she is doing again this year. In turn we were also staying up with her too as most of the parents do for their children. I consulted with other parents and they all cited similar problems so I knew our issue was not isolated to our own child. I was hopeful that the Gael Period would alleviate the amount of homework as well as allow her more sleep, but so far this has not been the case.

      While she was involved in (and loved) sports, it only compounded the problem so this year she has opted out of participating in one of her favorite sports which means she now is giving up on not only the physical exercise but the mental break this provided her with as well.

      We attend church at Cornerstone in Livermore. A recent sermon was about building character and leaving a legacy (http://cornerstoneweb.org/sermons/legacy/). The pastor challenged us when he said, “But in the middle of all of this homework we need to imagine the end, because it’s our responsibility to prepare our kids for the end. Instead of asking ourselves what we want them to “be when they grow up” the deeper question to ask ourselves is “who do I want them to become”. This reminds us that along with skill development comes character development. All of our kids must excel in character! Character shines when the world gets dark for our kids. While we still value getting the homework done we need to do it in equal participation of joining a life group, attending church or whatever other events will help build character in our kids.”

      I think at the end of the day, we all need to ask the students and they will tell you honestly their assessment of the balance of their homework/sports/free time/sleep/etc. You son’s situation (based upon my research) is an exception to the rule. I’m glad this has worked out so well for you and your son, however I wish my daughter’s situation and the other students that I’ve heard from were in your shoes, unfortunately this is not happening.

      Would it be too much to ask the teachers to implement the homework policy? Would it be too much to ask to have the Gael Period eliminated and allow school to start an hour later instead? Or will this be a case of, “the School Board can’t or they will choose not to”??

Comments are closed.