I think the key issues highlighted here are that parents vary in what they think is an appropriate amount of homework for their children to have, and teachers vary in their views as well. Add the fact that teachers are vested with unusual degrees of authority over the home (that they can both assign and require that the homework be done), and you will naturally see a system develop in which some kids get their work done handily and are free to play, and other kids are “stuck,” as the author says here, or “trapped,” as I say in my book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.
In the end, we must recognize that teachers and parents are all operating on their opinions of what is in the best interests of their students and in their children. This variety of opinions would be fine if we did not create systems in which homework can be given and children can then fail, if they don’t follow through. To emphasize the issue of “opinions,” we all understand that parents have different ideas about what is in the best interests of their children and how to raise them, and we honor those differences. We don’t demand that parents base their ideas on scientifically sound reasoning or through professional training, but we should expect that of our teachers. Instead, it’s a little known fact that teachers receive virtually no training in the theory, research, and practice of homework-giving. I have never seen a course called homework in a catalog of a school of education. I have never seen a continuing teacher development course on homework. I see very few articles on homework on teacher development websites.
The question is not just Yea or Nay, as the author poses it here, but do you have the power to act on the yea or nay that you believe?
Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.
I recommend giving copies of the book to the teachers at your child's school. Discount purchases are available through Wyndmoor Press. Single copies can be purchased at Amazon.