Homework debate prompts Prince George’s County Schools to open survey for parents to weigh in

How much homework is too much and is it necessary? That’s the great debate taking over Prince George’s County Public Schools.

The school system has formed a committee of school administrators, teachers, parents and students to address concerns about homework.

This school year, the committee will review current policies and procedures that haven’t been updated since 1983 and survey families, gather research on best practices and develop an administrative procedure to provide new homework guidelines for the 2020-21 school year. The committee will also design a training plan to help implement the new procedure system-wide.

One of the questions the online survey is posing to parents is about the amount of time that is spent on doing homework. 

“If you want them to be in an activity after school or you yourself as a parent have things to do then it could be frustrating,” said Schwanda Elias, who has three young kids attending school in the county.

Heather Wallace echoed almost the same concerns. She said sometimes there is just too much homework for her three kids and not enough family time after school.

“Sometimes I think it’s not necessary,” Wallace said. “A couple of times a week will be good. I think it’s much better if they keep the work in the school and they come home to relax and unwind because it’s a lot.”

According to a study from Duke University, the right amount of homework should be 10 minutes per night for every grade level attained. That means a second-grader should have 20 minutes of homework and a high school senior should have 120 minutes.

Charla Wynn said that doing homework no matter how long it takes should not be a debate. 
“A lot of kids spend a lot of time on video game,” said Wynn. “So how much time do they spend on homework just to master their game on a video game? But they want to zip through their homework and they can be all wrong.”

FOX 5 also checked with school districts in Montgomery and Fairfax counties for comparison. 

In Fairfax County, general homework in different grade levels varies from a half-hour to two hours — kindergarten to highschool.

In Montgomery County, students receive homework three to five times a week which is 10 percent of their grade and can make a difference between whether a student receives a higher grade or not.

Parents can look for survey information by email and on the PGCPS website around Oct. 16. The survey will close on Oct. 25.