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CNN Today

California School Board Candidate Runs on 'No Homework' Platform

Aired November 3, 2000 - 1:49 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And in today's sounds-like-a-dream- come-true story, in California, a candidate for the school board who's running on the "no homework" platform. Not surprisingly, plenty of teachers disagree with his proposal, but so do some students.

Here's Tim Herrera of our affiliate KCRA.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAY CUSHING, SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE: Hey, I'm trying to get rid of homework, I'm hoping you guys will help me.

TIM HERRERA, KCRA REPORTER (voice-over): Ray Cushing is a one- issue candidate in his bid for the Washington Unified School Board. His battle cry?: No homework!

CUSHING: I've seen so many families torn apart by homework and the demands it puts on families. I'd like to see families get back the time that they need to be families.

HERRERA: The 48-year-old freelance writer with one grown son and another in high school insists teaching should be in the classroom.

CUSHING: I've seen too many kids, my own included, but others too, who were fatigued by the time they even approached the homework. They've had an eight-hour day.

HERRERA: Cushing campaigns outside high schools with his "no homework" stickers, encouraging students to convince their parents to vote for him.

NATHAN SPARKS, RIVER CITY HIGH STUDENT: We already have enough pressure as it is, and just getting up and getting ready for school, and then coming to school for so long, you know, so much we can handle.

HERRERA: But educators in the Washington Unified District bristle at Cushing's suggestion that homework is more harmful than helpful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Good. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Give.

HERRERA: Administrators insist homework reinforces what students learn in class, that it gets parents involved with their kids, and that it helps gauge student progress.

PATTY YAMAT, TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: Accountability is with us. And that's accountability from kindergarten through 12th grade, no matter which side of the desk you sit on.

HERRERA: Cushing insists without homework students will have time to think, but not all students agree.

OLIVIA DE MARS, RIVER CITY HIGH STUDENT: Kids need to do homework. I mean, they don't need a lot, but they need a certain amount to keep them learning.

HERRERA: Cushing calls the upcoming election an unofficial referendum: that if voters elect him, it's their way of saying they believe school work should stay at school when the kids go home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LOU WATERS. CNN ANCHOR: We'll be hearing a lot more about this story because there's several states in the Union now that are debating what to do about this problem.

ALLEN: We'll have to see how he does in the upcoming election.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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