The Atlantic Takes on Homework

September 8th, 2016

In The Atlantic‘s article, “When Homework Is Useless,”  education experts are asked if schools should assign, grade and use take-home assignments; the following are pulled from their comments:

  • “Homework is absolutely necessary for students to demonstrate that they are able to independently process and apply their learning…” ~ Rita Pin Ahrens, director of education policy, Southeast Asia Action Center
  • “No mandatory homework in elementary school. None. No homework in middle school and high school unless a kid wants to do it. Chronic nightly homework makes for guilt, resentment, and lies–and family arguments and bone weariness. Parents become enforcers. It gets ugly.” ~ Nicholson Baker, author of Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids
  • “The research on homework shows beneficial effects on learning when appropriate assignments are given and completed, and the benefits increase with grade levels. There is little to no learning in the early grades but substantial benefit by grade 12.” ~ Carol Burris, executive director, Network for Public Education
  • “Homework provides an opportunity for families to be engaged in the learning process, reinforces what has been taught during the school day, and provides students with an opportunity to learn how to be accountable and responsible to others and meet deadlines. Homework will not be graded…” ~ Catherine Cushinberry, executive director, Parents for Public Schools
  • “Homework [is] necessary because not enough learning happens during the school day. Why is there a shortage of learning during the hours specifically designed for it? Because the broadcast, one-pace-fits-all lecture–the technique that is at the very heart of our standard classroom model–turns out to be a highly inefficient way to teach and learn. ” ~ from The One World Schoolhouse, by Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy
  • “Homework, in the popular parlance, is thought of as a necessary but dreary component of education. But if properly envisioned, homework can be exhilarating, an opportunity for students to venture independently to pursue in-depth topics first broached in the classroom…” ~ Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
  • “Students will have opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of subjects through homework, but the days of elementary-school students carrying home backpacks full of homework that are heavier than they are will be gone…” ~ Michelle Rhee, founder, Students First & former chancellor of D.C. public schools
  • “Homework will depend on what’s needed to inform the coming lesson or to reinforce the lesson students just learned. We will never give homework for the sake of giving it…” ~ Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers

What say you?

2 Responses to “The Atlantic Takes on Homework”

  1. Jean Tracy says:

    Thanks for offering the different sides, Carol. I think, if homework is to be helpful, teachers need to be wise in the homework they assign. Why? So children really do learn by doing it. I also think a creative teacher can make it interesting and fun.

  2. Carol Josel says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

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