Friday, November 30

City Council member takes aim at excessive homework

Upset about the amount of time he's spending helping his middle school-aged daughters with homework, City Council member Peter Vallone of Queens wants to introduce a resolution to limit homework to 2.5 hours a night and require schools to create one homework-free night a week. The mayor doesn't sound interested in taking up the cause, and the DOE believes homework load is best set by individual schools.

For most kids, I can't imagine that a limit of 2.5 hours of homework would mean a reduction in the time spent on homework. Still, as Izzy noted earlier, some schools have a reputation for handing out hours of homework every night. And it is true that the most conscientious students and parents, who are the least likely to need more work, are the most likely to suffer when it's assigned.

Vallone's quest may be quixotic but he isn't alone. Last year Insideschools reviewed two books arguing for the abolition of homework; we also interviewed Alfie Kohn, the author of one of the books, who said that homework, at least before high school, is "all pain, no gain."

1 comment:

Harlem Parent said...

Totally agree w. MR. Vallone. I am disgusted w. the massive homework load and poorly conceived nonsense my daughter brings home daily from her school. My daughter is a high 90s student and is getting absolutely nothing out of all this ridiculous busy work her teachers send home nightly except bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. If this was an occasional big project it would be fine. What I am most upset about is the lack of guidelines or structure to the assignments. Sometimes she gets homework for material never even covered in class. (I read over her materials every day, so I know she isn't making this up.) Her teachers at a supposedly well respected Manhattan high school are a joke and should all be sent back to a teacher education boot camp for some additional training. Homework should be reading and refining work started in class, not essentially teaching yourself. I may as well be homeschooling my daughter with the amount of time I spend explaining assignments and providing context for topics that have not been addressed by her teachers. Why not some guided study hall periods in the school day to allow teachers to work on improvement of writing skills, note taking, organizing a research project, internet research? Schools bury kids in Homework to give the illusion they are doing their job, which they are not. Our family is done w. allowing public school system to experiment on our child and are transferring her to a private school this year.