Obama on Homework by Annita Woz

cobipedalsatstinasfeetTuesday night, February 24, 2009, President Obama addressed Congress in his first State of the Nation address. He outlined the three key areas of focus for his upcoming budget and one of the goals was education reform. His clearly called on responsible parenting as a necessary part of making education reform a success. And then he mentioned the word my kids dread – yup, homework.

“These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. ”

I just don’t know how the President is going to manage that for his two girls and hold down a job and prop up the economy,  but he seems like the kind of guy who says what he means, so I imagine his house would be included in this effort.  

In families where mom and dad both work and children are signed up for after-school activities the family dinner is often served in the van in transit.  There isn’t much time left for homework after dinner, heck there isn’t much time for dinner around a kitchen table, either. 

In our school, each child has assigned homework almost every night.  This is not just the work that didn’t get finished in class time, this is actual work that has to be done outside of school before the next day.  Sometimes my daughter has enough homework to keep her busy for more than an hour in the evening. And if one of my kids is dealing with a focusing problem homework time can seem like it lasts forever!

Parents in our school have mixed feelings on homework.  Some believe that there is too much homework and not enough time for fun in our stressed out children’s lives. Others simply believe that homework is busywork and kids don’t learn a thing from having to juggle homework with home time.

Obama’s education reform included a stern warning that dropping out of school is no longer acceptable.  Additionally, he asked that all adults get at least one additional year of school or vocational training after high school, and he expects that by 2020 we will have the highest rates of college completion in the world.

Parental responsibility is part of President Obama’s equation for a strong economy.  So, I wonder who is doing the homework with the Obama kids at the White House and how much homework after dinner is necessary to help advance the President’s educational reform goal in the U.S.?

### A. Woz.

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