Are homework deadlines "old school?"

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - School today is ever evolving. No doubt, it's much different than even a decade ago, when strict deadlines dominated homework. However, District 51 is taking a more easy–going approach to assignments.

"One of my teachers told me that I could turn it in late, because he'd rather me get the points than have a zero," says Grand Junction High School Junior Maile Kelemeni.

"Better late than never" is an old saying that's been well studied in the District's high schools. For several years, administrators have encouraged teachers to go easy on students turning in late work.

"We really do need to separate learning from behavior," says Grand Junction High School Assistant Principle Jason Eidinger.

That behavior is handing in over–due assignments. The School Board believes research shows kids should be encouraged to do the work, and the learning, even if they don't get full credit, or better yet, "I've had a lot of teachers let you turn in late work and they won't dock points for it," says Dylan Arvig, a senior.

But some teachers refuse to follow the free–ride philosophy.

"Most of the teachers I've had, they've been more strict and wouldn't take late work," says Zach Duarte, another senior.

That results in a bad grade, but tougher teachers say kids are learning the lesson of responsibility.

"Real world... the fact of the matter is, I've even been late paying my utility bill and I'm still given an extension," says Eidinger.

Administrators argue understanding the concepts is what's most critical, and flexible due dates are working.

The graduation rate increased from about 71 percent in 2006 to 74 percent in 2009.

"I think more kids would be able to turn things in and pass, if they (teachers) would start being more lenient," says Junior Brayden O'Donnell.

But ultimately, teachers still make the rules in their classroom. "We also respect the fact that they're the professional in the classroom. If they've communicated their policy well, we have no problem supporting them," says Eidinger.

The response was split with all the students 11 News spoke with. About half say their teachers still enforced strict deadlines and the other half say their instructors were more flexible.

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  • by Annonymous Location: Grand Junction on Sep 2, 2010 at 09:44 AM
    Just to clarify a point. This is not a policy that all teachers are enforcing. Yes, there are some teachers who have a lax late work policy, however, there are a lot of teachers who do not believe this is a beneficial policy. This is a policy put forth by District 51 and not the teachers. I agree by giving lax deadlines the students will not be ready for the world outside of school. They will have no clue that some things have to be turned in by a certain date or there are penalties (i.e. job applications, taxes, scholarships, credit card payments). Yes there are some bills that you're given a grace period, but only for a few days, not until "whenever." And, in my experience, it doesn't matter how long you give students to turn in the work. If they don't turn it in when it's due, nine times out of ten they will not turn it in at all.
  • by Parent Location: GJ on Aug 27, 2010 at 03:06 PM
    So I have read the comments posted on the story about GMMS seperating lunches, and oh my goodness. Lunches is what school is all about, right? It's certainly not about children learning anything so that they can grow up to be productive, responsible adults. Come on people. Then I read the comments about lax homework deadlines, and uproar again. If I was a teacher I would have a conference with every one of my students' parent's and tell them, "Think you can do better? Good Luck!" As a parent, it is my job to teach my child that life is not always what you want, but it is what you get. And you better learn to deal with it now, cuz it ain't gettin any better sweetheart. Why don't you all grow up and learn, life is what it is, but you make it productive by dealing with what your dealt.
  • by Thom Location: Banging on your door on Aug 26, 2010 at 06:18 PM
    RANT ON! Just WTH are the "educators" in District 51 teaching our kids by taking a more "easy going approach" to homework deadlines? REALLY? What in life's lessons are they going to learn by turning in work late, with no penalty??? Hmmmm maybe it'll be ok if I turn in my Thesis a week late... or hey maybe it'll be ok if I show up to work... an hour late... The comparison to paying a utility bill is ASININE! Once again, LAZY teachers are guiding our kids down the road to IGNORANCE! (THIS RANT IS NOT a freakin' long-shot) be continued...
  • by Really? on Aug 26, 2010 at 03:54 PM
    We need to prepare our childern for the real world. I would love to hear an employee tell their boss that they will get around to it "whenever". I can assure you they would not be employed very long. Especially in this economy when every job counts. Not setting the expectations for our children sets them up for failure!!!
  • by Dist Teacher Location: GJ on Aug 26, 2010 at 03:52 PM
    Suck it up? lol As a teacher I can only wish we could make them suck it up!! However, its the complaining parents who want us to bend over backwards to please their children and them. I wonder if those same parents run off to the IRS if their child is late on their taxes, or their childs boss if they turn in an important report late and then lose their jobs! We are supposed to inforce real-world skills to students, but cant when the parents get too involved! Again Parents should be PARENTS, and let us teachers be teachers!
  • by Anonymous on Aug 26, 2010 at 03:50 PM
    That would be principal, not "principle." The principal is your PAL, remember?
  • by Unbelievable Location: GJ on Aug 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM
    Just another way of letting the schools get away with not teaching. Why should we ever be accountable for our work or actions when they teach not to be in the schools now. Can you imagine what these young adults will do in society when they graduate, absolutely nothing, theres no accountablility or set parameters. Bad idea to not hold them accountable now, it only festers later. No respect for rules, laws and guidelines makes for criminals and slugs who live off everyone that obides by the rules amd contribute to society.
  • by Amazed Location: GJ on Aug 26, 2010 at 06:31 AM
    Get a grip. The real world has deadlines. The school is being lazy. Make kids suck it up and do their work on time. Of course there are sometimes circumstances that come up but that should be dealt with one on one with the teacher/student.
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