Homework Collides with Entitlement

I have been listening to the calls for greatly reduced homework throughout ed news and blogs, thinking long and hard about my traditions and experiences.  The major arguments I am hearing go like this:

  1. Research says homework is counter-productive
  2. Kids these days are too busy
  3. Homework impedes family time
  4. Homework makes kids hate school

Here are my questions.

  1. Does the research conclude all homework is counter-productive?  I do not teach reading, but I would have to see a ton more research to be convinced that young students who spend 10-minutes per grade level reinforcing some basics like reading and number sense are disadvantaged over students who go home and play video games.  On the other hand, if a teacher does not have time to judiciously select productive assignments, I would agree that teacher should not carelessly dole out boredom.
  2. What are kids so busy doing that they should not have to work as hard as kids in other countries on academics?  If those who would argue our kids should have more time to play sports and dance can come up with a way to fill US tech jobs with US citizens, I might be more open to that.
  3. Is/are “family time” and “homework time” mutually exclusive?  I am deeply concerned about what is happening there because I believe in the importance of the family unit.  If a teacher is carelessly doling out boredom and parents’ frustration is turning their children against academics, then a conversation should be had.
  4. Does all homework elicit ill feelings?  In my practice, I find that when parents and students clearly understand the reason for and value of the homework, all are much more willing to pursue it with quality effort.  I do not believe Americans are incapable of foregoing immediate gratification for ultimate benefit, but it is up to the educators to clearly communicate the need for the work.

I can already visualize my colleagues who teach statistics pulling their hair out as US ignorance of correlation vs. causation continues to flourish.  I worry about the deeper issue.  Most of us still get warm fuzzies singing “God Bless America,” but the words did not evolve from a sense of entitlement.  Our freedom and blessings have been purchased with the blood of thousands.  I would not believe for a second that we and our children are entitled to our freedoms and blessings without some hard work and inconvenience.

7 thoughts on “Homework Collides with Entitlement

  1. I think a hidden possibility is that the “entitled” ones have the culture that do the homework and it works for them, so the gap widens… except when the homework is busy work..
    I would like to see a culture that expected students and families to value learning and to pursue it outside the classroom — and gosh, homework assignments are a great chance to do that when they’re appropriate assignments.


    1. This is a great thought, in my opinion. “Will this homework assignment be accessible for all?” For example, I buy graphing calculators on EBay to loan my students who cannot afford them. Since students can use graphing calculators on their tests, those who have them at home have the advantage of increased familiarity.

      Liked by 1 person

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