Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Comment on NYTimes Blog Post: I Hate Homework. I Assign It Anyway

Two important points to make about homework are: 1. Research does not support it. 2. Teachers are not trained in how to do it. Homework is a policy, not a professional practice. If homework were that important, schools of education would have courses in how to use the tool. But they don't. I also think that if homework is given, it should be given with the permission of parents, not overriding their say. Most parents accept what the school requires, because they want to instill respect for authority and respect for education. But when parents are put in the role of having responsibility for making sure the assignments get done without the authority to decide what to do when it gets to be too much, it makes them middle managers of the school with respect to their children. This is a devastating position for the parent to be in. It is also unhealthy for the child to have a helpless parent flailing around to enforce rules that that parent did not create. Homework should be time-bound, not assignment-based. Penalties should be reduced so that no child fails (or suffers a serious loss of credit) based on homework alone. And parents should be the final arbiters when it comes to homework problems. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. Author of The Homework Trap.

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