Santa Monica Observer Issue 47, 2008 : Page 1

Ice Skating Page 3 Volume XI Number 47 Community, Diversity, and other Overused Words™ November 10 - 16 2008 Girls’ Night Out Shecky’s Girls Night Out teaches young people how to shop, page 6. Photo by Fabian Lewkowicz.com 200 Parents urge Board to Review Homework Policy by Alyssa Erdley Three hours of homework in one night. In our school dis- trict, that can be the chore of an eight-year-old child. Middle schoolers are so loaded with homework they drop all extracurricular activities. High schoolers skip important fami- ly events - and sleep - in order to complete their school work. Parents in the Santa Monica- Malibu Unified School District are frustrated by this attack on their home life, and concerned about the long-term effects of heaping their children with excessive amounts of home- work. Apetition of two hundred sig- natures was delivered to the Board of Education last Thursday, urging them to review their nineteen-year-old home- work policy. Last spring, a District-run survey showed a majority of parents of secondary school students felt there was too much homework. Even middle schoolers can get two, three, or even four hours per day of home- work on a regular basis. Though the Board has been sympathetic to such discussions in the past, on Thursday they appeared ready to take action. “I would like to make sure we address this,” said Jose Escarce, Vice President of the Board. He admitted the group has been lax during past years in address- ing the issue of what he called “way too much homework.” Every Board member was unanimous in pronouncing this an issue whose time had come. Escarce pronounced himself “grateful to the parents who brought it up.” Member Kathy Wisnicki said, “I’m really glad we’re finally dis- cussing this.” Member Maria Leon-Vazquez claimed “it was a long time coming.” Echoing the Board’s con- cerns, evidence was presented on Thursday regarding a host of harmful effects from excessive homework, including health problems, stress, decreased fami- ly time, lack of sleep, poorer learning, and decreasing literacy (see side bar). In addition, exces- sive homework intensifies the inequities among different socioeconomic groups. Speakers informed the Board that optimum learning is achieved by moderate, rather than excessive, homework, and cited the need to train teachers in how to give the most effective homework. Health and Safety DAC Member Debbie Bernstein, a for- HOMEWORK, Page 2 Arrest in Murder of SMC Student A suspect is in custody for the murder of a 24-year-old Santa Monica College student. Min Woo Cho was reported missing by family members in June. Caltrans workers found Cho’s body dumped next to an off-ramp along the 110 Freeway, near Dodger Stadium in July. Weeks later, after investiga- tors confirmed the identity of the body, they discovered he had been reported missing a month earlier. “The body was badly decom- posed at the time. So immediate identification was impossible. However, we did have clothing items, which were very descrip- tive. And those were shown to the family members and they did have an initial identification,” said Detective Alan Soloman, Los Angeles Police Department. According to relatives and police, the victim was a hard- working college student who had never been in any kind of trouble. And according to detectives, he was killed by his former room- mate, 24-year-old Steven Hyun Kwon. Kwon allegedly had gam- bling problems and Cho’s family suspected Kwon from the very beginning. Cho and Kwon were seen at a MURDER, Page 4

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