Stop Homework a resource created by Sara Bennett, co-author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It.

Archive for In the News

Quebec Newspaper Writes Editorial Against Homework

Quebec’s largest English language weekly newspaper, The Suburban published an anti-homework editorial at the end of August:

Too much homework

As kids go back to school, we need to pay attention to a growing movement among parents and educators calling on homework to be severely reduced. We think they are right.

Childhood is a time for growth and education is an important part of that. But so is being a child. Enjoying your youth and family. School hours have expanded over the years to the point that many school days end at five instead of three. Almost weekly tests in one subject or another are being the norm in many schools. Homework assigned, or studies expected, reach two to three hours a night. It is far too much.

Kids and families need to decompress at the end of a day. Kids need time to be kids and families need time to be families. It can’t just be school, rush home and grab a quick dinner, and back to the books. Monastic existences do no one any good.

Read the rest of this entry »

California School District Abolishes Homework for Elementary and Middle School

The Helendale School District in California is instituting a no-homework policy for students in K-8th grade beginning this fall. According to vvdailypress, “First- through sixth-graders will complete any independent work during daily lessons, while seventh- and eighth-graders will get an added ‘homework time’ class period.”

Which school district will be next?

“Kindergarten Cram”

Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine had a great article, Kindergarten Cram, about the problems with today’s kindergartens. One of my favorite lines: “How was it that the same couples who piously proclaimed that 3½-year-old Junior was not “developmentally ready” to use the potty were drilling him on flashcards?”

Here’s the beginning of the article:

About a year ago, I made the circuit of kindergartens in my town. At each stop, after the pitch by the principal and the obligatory exhibit of art projects only a mother (the student’s own) could love, I asked the same question: “What is your policy on homework?”

And always, whether from the apple-cheeked teacher in the public school or the earnest administrator of the “child centered” private one, I was met with an eager nod. Oh, yes, each would explain: kindergartners are assigned homework every day.

Bzzzzzzt. Wrong answer.

Read the rest of the article here.

Some Canadian School Eliminate Homework

I’ve written many times about places in Canada where homework has been eliminated. This month’s Today’s Parent, published in Toronto, Canada, has an article titled, “The End of Homework?”, which looks at a school in Barrie, Ontario, which eliminated homework this year. The article concludes:

But a year after [Barrie’s] Prince of Wales eliminated most forms of homework, students’ marks have improved by an average of three percent, [principal] Olson says. Is this due to less homework? Hard to say. But he points out that the new policy has forced teachers to cover more of the curriculum more effectively during class time. Students are more focused on classwork now, and reports of students not sleeping because of homework have disappeared, said Olson. “One family told me it’s the first time their daughter is involved in competitive sports because, previously, she never had time.”.

Read the article here. (And a big thanks to Amanda Cockshutt for sending me the article.)

L.A. Times Reports: Schools are Cutting Back on Homework

The L.A. Times recently reported on several California schools that have cut back on homework:

Trustees in Danville, Calif., eliminated homework on weekends and vacations last year. Palo Alto officials banned it over winter break. Officials in Orange…are reminding teachers about limits on homework and urging them not to assign it on weekends. A private school in Hollywood has done away with book reports.

Read the story here.

Teachers in British Columbia, Canada, Seek Ban on Homework Until Grade 4

According to an article in The Province, the president of the British Columbia Teachers Federation says that school kids should not be given any homework until Grade 4 at the earliest. “I’m not in favour of abolishing homework, but I do think we need to consider very carefully the age of children,” she said. “Certainly in the primary years [kindergarten to Grade 3] we shouldn’t be having kids have homework.”

School District in Newfoundland, Canada, Implements New Homework Policy

After some parent complaints that their children were doing too much homework, the Eastern School District in Newfoundland, Canada, implemented a new homework policy. According to vocm.com, “guidelines for Kindergarten students are roughly ten minutes, primary 30 minutes, elementary 40, intermediate an hour, and high school students one to two hours.” In addition, homework cannot be assigned over holiday breaks and cannot be assigned as a form of discipline. Read the policy here.

Students’ Expectations Cause Grade Disputes in College

A recent article in The New York Times quoted a number of college professors who find that their students expect good grades if they attend lectures and do their out of class work. The associate dean of the Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University, said: “Students often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work. There is a mentality in students that ‘if I work hard, I deserve a high grade.’ “ The vice provost for teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stated, “I think that it stems from their K-12 experiences. They have become ultra-efficient in test preparation. And this hyper-efficiency has led them to look for a magic formula to get high scores.”

Read the story here.

Exam Stress Leads to Too Many Suicides in India

According to an article in the Times of India, there were more than 16 suicides a day during a peak exam period in the 2006-2007 school year. “The sense of failure comes from the perception that success in exams is the key to success in life,” says a counselor and family therapist. “The burden of expectations — their own and their parents — makes them feel that only coming first is good enough.” The therapist continues, “One should always strive for excellence but failure isn’t a catastrophe.”

Indeed, as the article notes, failure

can even spur success. Thomas Edison famously told a reporter who asked him how it felt to have failed 700 times to invent the electric light. “I have not failed 700 times…I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.”

Some New Zealand Schools Cut Back on Homework

Seven New Zealand primary schools have just decided to cut back on homework because research shows no correlation between homework and academic achievement and there’s no evidence that homework teaches time management skills. (Nothing new there! Readers of this blog already knew that.)

According to stuff.co.nz, a recent study by Auckland University education professor John Hattie, which analysed the effectiveness of 113 different teaching tactics, ranked homework at 88th. Further, Hattie found no evidence that homework helps improve time management or study skills. Read the article here.

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