(aside: I could footnote the hell out of this, but since you can confirm what I’m saying here by spending about 5 minutes with Google, I’ll leave that part for you as extra credit’)
Over the last few decades, the homework load on school children has increased, to the point now where, on the one end, it is not unusual for high school students to spend 6 or more hours a night on homework and, on the other, for 3rd graders to get an hour or more of homework.
Recent studies indicate that homework contributes little (high school) to nothing (grade school) to either short term (standardized testing results) or long term (doing well in college) academic success. Repeat, just to be clear: doing homework will contribute nothing to the academic success of grade school age children, and very little to the success of high school students. (Note: elite colleges currently assign up to 50% of incoming freshmen – that would be the freshmen with the 4.3 GPAs, a dozen AP classes under their belts and thousands and thousands of hours spent doing homework – into remedial math, English and writing courses. What’s wrong with this picture?)
Conversely, for children, getting enough sleep (8 – 10 hours a night) contributes mightily to academic success, not to mention general health and happiness.
Also, time spent in unstructured play, and especially time spent in quiet enjoyment of family life correlate very highly to both future happiness and academic success.
Finally, the price for homework is exactly and explicitly a reduction or elimination of time spent in unstructured play, sleep and the quiet enjoyment of one’s family (aside: anybody ever fight over getting a kid to do homework, or poison home life with worry and nagging over homework?).
Assignment: given the above, explain:
– why parents, teachers and administrators passionately argue for the importance of homework, even and explicitly when the above facts are made known to them;
– explain why teachers who unilaterally decide to eliminate homework are, without exception, derided and ridiculed by parents and other teachers, even when test scores in their classes IMPROVE.
Getting the answer to this question correct is the key to understanding the nature of educational dilemma we’re in.