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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Homework helps school systems, not students

The industrial educational system is addicted to homework. From a "business" perspective, it meets the needs of the school perfectly:
  • It reduces the responsibility and accountability of the existing teachers and school processes.
  • It makes parents accountable to the school, instead of the other way around.
  • It keeps the student feeling guilty and unempowered.
  • It maintains the illusion that there is so much to teach and the school mission is so important that it is worth consuming all aspects of a child's life.
But the cost is extraordinarily high on the students' education. Homework:
  • Robs children and their families of meaningful time.
  • Robs children of self-paced experiment and reflection time where so much learning to be, learning to do, and yes, learning to know actually occurs. This is where people can learn what they love.
  • Covers up bad processes and bloated curricula.
Self paced projects, especially involving teams, are powerful and meaningful. But if something cannot be conveyed or scheduled during the school day, it is the people who are in charge that must adapt and re-engineer, not the students and their parents.


  1. Parents get homework, too! Like selling wrapping paper to friends and family, baking cupcakes, providing transportation, making costumes and enforcing/supporting homework time, often for multiple children in different grades.

  2. You are so right. One favorite trick of schools (as you know) is to give first graders incredibly complex homework projects, that absolutely requires hours and hours of work from the parent.