Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Homework in the news Feb 20 2013

I came across three articles on homework today. Here are links to those articles with the responses I left.

Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal with my response:

There is an issue that goes beyond this particular group's petition and that is the right of parents to have final say on things that go on in their home. The reason there is a need for this petition, and the reason why we can predict that just as many parents will oppose the position as will support it, is that homework is a unique area of life in which outside forces have seriously supplanted the authority of the parent. There are some simple steps which can be taken to rectify this problem and I address them on my website, But we need to start with a new paradigm which is that teachers should use their best professional judgment to make lesson plans, including homework assignments, but that they do so recognizing that parents have the final say about what happens in the home. Once they develop their models with that limitation in mind, we will find less homework debate, less family disruption, and better teaching in the long run.

Glen Rock, New Jersey school district is looking at their homework policy.

I offered a four step model:

Time bound assignments
Penalty reductions
Increased teacher education on homework
Recognition of parents as the final decision-makers in their homes.

This research was referred to in The Nation.

Here is my comment:

The primary issue is not what is found in this study but the fact that teachers are not trained in the research, theory and practice of homework-giving. Parents who read this article are typically left with the task of bringing it to the teacher's attention. It is reasonable for parents to assume that teachers have already learned about homework in the schools of education. But they have not. In my mind, that is at the core of the problem. For more information, visit

For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers. 


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