No homework? No way

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It’s the great debate in schools. And it’s been sparked by a young teacher in Texas who sent the following home.

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This policy is getting all kinds of support with educators and parents enthusiastically embracing taking it easy, real easy on today’s students. Check out this CBS News report that lacks any tough inquiries questioning this policy.

The concept of no homework is not an original thought. The idea has been bandied about before.

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Keep in mind what advocates like Alfie Kohn are pushing. Don’t simply reduce the amount of homework or rethink the types of assignments being handed out, despite the positive effects homework can have.

“There are simply no compelling data to justify the practice of making kids work what amounts to a second shift when they get home from a full day of school,” says Kohn. “My general suggestion is to change the default: No homework should be the norm. Six hours of academics is enough—except on those occasions when teachers can show strong reason to infringe on family time and make these particular students do more of this particular schoolwork.”

To critics like Kohn homework is akin to a nauseating ailment, almost destructive in the negativity it can cause. From an intro to Kohn’s book:

Death and taxes come later; what seems inevitable for children is the idea that, after spending the day at school, they must then complete more academic assignments at home. The predictable results: stress and conflict, frustration and exhaustion.

So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil – or even demand a larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a mistrust of children, a set of misconceptions about learning, and a misguided focus on competitiveness have all left our kids with less free time and our families with more conflict.

Cutting back on excessive assignments? Go for it.

Getting rid of so-called “busy work,” unnecessary assignments? I’m in.

An all-out ban on homework. No way.

I’m completely turned off by the assertions that homework is evil. Eliminating homework is yet another signal of the wussification of education, lowering the bar, demanding lesser standards. It’s just too hard. It’s just too much. The lil’ darlins simply can’t handle it.

Angela Downing, an elementary school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts takes, in my view, a wonderful approach.  She posts examples of excellent homework on the walls inside and outside of her classroom. It’s like a badge of honor, and it works.
“This practice sends the message to students that their work and their learning are important and valued,” Downing says. “Students take special care to do their best work when they know that the final piece will be displayed in the hall or on the classroom bulletin board.”

Many times we over-analyze. Forget the books and scholarly studies. An online submission by a man named Dave Clark is blunt and for me just about nails it.

No homework? What a great idea – let’s have our students fall even farther behind the students in other countries who have already passed ours by in their academic achievements. Students can learn time management some other time, right? It will also relieve the parents of having to have any involvement at all with their kids’ education. What a relief!

While we’re at it, let’s allow our students to be on their cell phones all day at school, too. Hey, why not do away with grades? Let’s make school just a fun time for kids. And no more of those rigid schedules – let the students come and go wherever they want to in the school. And no final bell – let the students go home when they feel they’ve learned enough each day.

Talk about “dumbing-down” America (like we need any help with that effort).

School starts Monday for my daughter. And she will probably leave school with homework. And the next school day. And the next school day. And the next.

Thank goodness.

2 thoughts on “No homework? No way

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (09/05/16) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  2. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (12/05/16) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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