Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Preparing Them for their future? I wonder.....

My oldest son is now in high school. He has, as a freshman, what I believe should be a fairly challenging academic schedule. His classes include GATE English 9, Geometry, and Biology. However, after four weeks of school, he seems to not have homework for most of his classes. He has regular homework and a project to work on for his GATE English 9 class, but he does not have homework for Biology or Geometry.
I know that when I was in high school, and later in college, I had lots of "out of class" work to do for science and math classes.
I attended his school's "Back to School" night last week. In most of his classes, we were told that homework was worth very little of the grade. His biology classroom does not have lab tables/desks, just student desks, and we were told that due to budgetary issues, the biology students would not experience many actual lab activities. I got the impression that work for most classes was done in class (worksheets!) and they took quizzes and tests.
I wonder if, as a staff, most of the teachers in our local high schools have "given up" on having required homework because too many of their students simply will not do it and turn it in, or if these teachers simply do not want to grade it? I do know that school administrators are "after" teachers because "you teachers are GIVING too many F's."
This bothers me for several reasons. first of all, I wonder how well this policy/attitude toward assigned homework is preparing these students, my son included, for future academic experiences? And it bothers me, a teacher of junior high students, in that we try to get our students used to the fact that homework is part of their academic life and they need to develop good academic skills here at the junior high so that they will be prepared for what I hoped (and assumed) would be more rigor and higher levels of academic expectations at the high school.

As a parent, I am wondering how much to bang my head on that brick wall of the high school in terms of what I believe they should be doing to help my son be prepared for University. As a teacher, is my expectation that my students do homework to practice skills they need to master, to learn the main concepts, vocabulary, etc., of the courses I teach, a moot exercise ?

What do you think ? Do you have a child in high school that does not seem to be rigorous or preparing him/her for University? (Has my experience of what to expect at college/university been changed?) I welcome your thoughts and comments.