I won’t be posting again until September, but I will be answering email, so please feel free to write me with your questions, concerns, and requests for speaking engagements. If you’re looking for an end-of-the-year gift for your children’s teachers, consider giving The Case Against Homework. When teachers and administrators read it, they think about, and change, their homework practices.
This school year, Stop Homework received funding and became affiliated with The Alliance for Childhood. Through Stop Homework, I’ve been interviewed for dozens of publications and radio and TV shows in the U.S., Canada, South America, and Europe; I’ve spoken with hundreds of parents and educators and helped many of them advocate for change in their communities; I’ve organized meetings among heads of schools to start dialogues on homework reform; and I’ve helped educators figure out ways to change their policies. If you need help of any kind, be sure to let me know.
Here are just a few the highlights from 2007-2008:
The School District Board in Toronto, Canada, completely overhauled its homework policy and, although it didn’t eliminate homework altogether, it instituted the first family-friendly homework policy in North America. You can read all about it here. Another District north of Toronto, the Simcoe School District, is going to follow suit. The driving force for change in Toronto, Frank Bruni, says that The Case Against Homework inspired him to take action.
The principal of a K-5 school in Glenrock, Wyoming, instituted a successful, year-long, no-homework practice in her school.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in England, a union which represents 160,000 teachers debated a motion to abolish homework.
Carl Chew, a Seattle school teacher refused to administer a state standardized test. In North Carolina, Doug Ward did the same. And, in Needham, Massachusetts, a high school principal tried different tactics to alleviate stress.
Parents from Santiago, Chile, to Toronto, Canada, to San Marino, California, to Danviille, California, to the suburbs of Philadelphia wrote about their efforts to change homework policy in their communities.
Students wrote eloquently about their thoughts on homework. You can read some of them here and here and here.
Jay Mathews of The Washington Post, who calls himself “Mr. Homework,” did an about face and recommended the abolition of homework in elementary school.
Despite yet another survey by Scholastic that kids don’t read enough for pleasure (homework is one of the major reasons), and despite pleas by such educators as Nancie Atwell and Teacher Magazine blogger Donalyn Miller that teachers stop killing the love of reading by turning reading into an academic exercise, students across the country are heading into their summer vacations with assigned books, replete with attached mandatory assignments, logs, and creative projects.
Parents: we still have a lot of work to do to change the homework paradigm. I hope you read The Case Against Homework for ideas on what to do and take inspiration from the book and from the stories on this blog.
Enjoy the summer!