In an article in The Washington Post, As Homework Grows, So Do Arguments Against It, a staff reporter writes that the controvery over homework is growing every year. “[E]lementary school students get no academic benefit from homework — except reading and some basic skills practice — and yet schools require more than ever.”
In the nation’s classrooms, teachers say they work hard to conform to school board policies and parent demands that do not always match what they think is the best thing for children.
Yet teachers themselves don’t uniformly agree on something as basic as the purpose of homework (reviewing vs. learning new concepts), much less design or amount or even whether it should be graded. And the result can be inconsistency in assignments and confusion for students.
In the same article, a veteran educator asks, “What should homework be? In the biggest parameter, it ought to help kids make better sense of the world. Too often, it just doesn’t.”
I found this article particularly interesting, coming as it did just a few days after a review in the very same newspaper, The Washington Post, criticizing The Case Against Homework and Alfie Kohn’s The Homework Myth. In Busy Work, the reviewer dismissed both books by suggesting that “perhaps homework really is out of control in certain (generally affluent) schools and districts. But that would be a far narrower problem than the national epidemic these authors describe.”