Subterranean homework blues

ONLY a few weeks after it was reported that one hard-up local school was begging its pupils to bring in their own toilet roll, parents are now demanding that homework loads be dramatically reduced.

The wonderfully named Spanish Confederation of Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students (Ceapa) has called for parents and students alike to go on strike refuse to do any homework at all on all weekends throughout November.

Ceapa president Jose Luis Pazos claims that the ‘unacceptable’ levels of homework dished out to pupils effectively makes parents ‘second teachers’ and eats into both family time and the children’s own space for leisure and social development.

“They should be happy when they’re little and learn that life isn’t just about someone telling you that you have to suffer inexplicably,” he said reasonably.

The organisation represents some 12,000 parents associations across the country and their cause is bolstered by a 2012 OECD study that showed Spanish 15-year-olds enduring roughly six and a half hours of homework per week. The OECD average was under five hours.

Ceapa have doled out copies of formal letters of protest for all striking parents to give to teachers. One demands the abolition of weekend homework, while the other is a ‘the dog ate it’ note.

It fantastically excuses incomplete homework due to “the constitutional right that families have to make what they consider to be the best decisions for family life, which is a private matter and one on which schools should not intrude.”

The strike may well make a difference. Homework isn’t a regimented affair nationally and is largely at the discretion of individual schools or municipalities.

With the right level of pressure parents should be able to exert some level of control over the volume and timing of homework, though doing so may open up a huge kettle of fish at future PTA meetings. 

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