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The Homework Debate: The Case Against Homework

This post has been updated as of December 2017.

It’s not uncommon to hear students, parents, and even some teachers always complaining about homework. Why, then, is homework an inescapable part of the student experience? Worksheets, busy work, and reading assignments continue to be a mainstay of students’ evenings.

Whether from habit or comparison with out-of-class work time in other nations, our students are getting homework and, according to some of them, a LOT of it. Educators and policy makers must ask themselves—does assigning homework pay off?

Is there evidence that homework benefits students younger than high school?

The Scholastic article Is Homework Bad? references Alfie Kohn’s book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , in which he says, “There is no evidence to demonstrate that homework benefits students below high school age.”

The article goes on to note that those who oppose homework focus on the drawbacks of significant time spent on homework, identifying one major negative as homework’s intrusion into family time. They also point out that opponents believe schools have decided homework is necessary and thus assign it simply to assign some kind of homework, not because doing the work meets specifically-identified student needs.

“Busy work” does not help students learn

Students and parents appear to carry similar critiques of homework, specifically regarding assignments identified as busy work—long sheets of repetitive math problems, word searches, or reading logs seemingly designed to make children dislike books.

When asked how homework can negatively affect children, Nancy Kalish, author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It , says that many homework assignments are “simply busy work” that makes learning “a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience.”

Commenters on the piece, both parents and students, tended to agree. One student shared that on occasion they spent more time on homework than at school, while another commenter pointed out that, “We don’t give slow-working children a longer school day, but we consistently give them a longer homework day.”

Without feedback, homework is ineffective

The efficacy of the homework identified by Kalish has been studied by policy researchers as well. Gerald LeTendre, of Penn State’s Education Policy Studies department points out that the shotgun approach to homework, when students all receive the same photocopied assignment which is then checked as complete rather than discussed individually with the student, is “not very effective.”  He goes on to say that, “If there’s no feedback and no monitoring, the homework is probably not effective.”

Researchers from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia had similar findings in their study, “ When Is Homework Worth The Time ?” According to UVAToday, these researchers reported no “substantive difference” in the grades of students related to homework completion.

As researcher Adam Maltese noted, “Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be.” The report further suggested that while not all homework is bad, the type and quality of assignments and their differentiation to specific learners appears to be an important point of future research.

If homework is assigned, it should heighten understanding of the subject

The Curry School of Education report did find a positive association between standardized test performance and time spent on homework, but standardized test performance shouldn’t be the end goal of assignments—a heightened understanding and capability with the content material should.

As such, it is important that if/when teachers assign homework assignments, it is done thoughtfully and carefully—and respectful of the maximum times suggested by the National Education Association, about 10 minutes per night starting in the first grade, with an additional 10 minutes per year after.

Continue reading — The Homework Debate: How Homework Benefits Students

Monica Fuglei is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a current adjunct faculty member of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado, where she teaches composition and creative writing.

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15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons

Homework was a staple of the public and private schooling experience for many of us growing up. There were long nights spent on book reports, science projects, and all of those repetitive math sheets. In many ways, it felt like an inevitable part of the educational experience. Unless you could power through all of your assignments during your free time in class, then there was going to be time spent at home working on specific subjects.

More schools are looking at the idea of banning homework from the modern educational experience. Instead of sending work home with students each night, they are finding alternative ways to ensure that each student can understand the curriculum without involving the uncertainty of parental involvement.

Although banning homework might seem like an unorthodox process, there are legitimate advantages to consider with this effort. There are some disadvantages which some families may encounter as well.

These are the updated lists of the pros and cons of banning homework to review.

List of the Pros of Banning Homework

1. Giving homework to students does not always improve their academic outcomes. The reality of homework for the modern student is that we do not know if it is helpful to have extra work assigned to them outside of the classroom. Every study that has looked at the subject has had design flaws which causes the data collected to be questionable at best. Although there is some information to suggest that students in seventh grade and higher can benefit from limited homework, banning it for students younger than that seems to be beneficial for their learning experience.

2. Banning homework can reduce burnout issues with students. Teachers are seeing homework stress occur in the classroom more frequently today than ever before. Almost half of all high school teachers in North America have seen this issue with their students at some point during the year. About 25% of grade school teachers say that they have seen the same thing.

When students are dealing with the impact of homework on their lives, it can have a tremendously adverse impact. One of the most cited reasons for students dropping out of school is that they cannot complete their homework on time.

3. Banning homework would increase the amount of family time available to students. Homework creates a significant disruption to family relationships. Over half of all parents in North America say that they have had a significant argument with their children over homework in the past month. 1/3 of families say that homework is their primary source of struggle in the home. Not only does it reduce the amount of time that everyone has to spend together, it reduces the chances that parents have to teach their own skills and belief systems to their kids.

4. It reduces the negative impact of homework on the health of a student. Many students suffer academically when they cannot finish a homework assignment on time. Although assumptions are often made about the time management skills of the individual when this outcome occurs, the reasons why it happens is usually more complex. It may be too difficult, too boring, or there may not be enough time in the day to complete the work.

When students experience failure in this area, it can lead to severe mental health issues. Some perceive themselves as a scholarly failure, which translates to an inability to live life successfully. It can disrupt a desire to learn. There is even an increased risk of suicide for some youth because of this issue. Banning it would reduce these risks immediately.

5. Eliminating homework would allow for an established sleep cycle. The average high school student requires between 8-10 hours of sleep to function at their best the next day. Grade-school students may require an extra hour or two beyond that figure. When teachers assign homework, then it increases the risk for each individual that they will not receive the amount that they require each night.

When children do not get enough sleep, a significant rest deficit occurs which can impact their ability to pay attention in school. It can cause unintended weight gain. There may even be issues with emotional control. Banning homework would help to reduce these risks as well.

6. It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive. People who are only spending time in school and then going home to do more work are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation. When these emotions are present, then a student is more likely to feel “down and out” mentally and physically. They lack meaningful connections with other people. These feelings are the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. If students are spending time on homework, then they are not spending time connecting with their family and friends.

7. It reduces the repetition that students face in the modern learning process. Most of the tasks that homework requires of students is repetitive and uninteresting. Kids love to resolve challenges on tasks that they are passionate about at that moment in their lives. Forcing them to complete the same problems repetitively as a way to “learn” core concepts can create issues with knowledge retention later in life. When you add in the fact that most lessons sent for homework must be done by themselves, banning homework will reduce the repetition that students face, allowing for a better overall outcome.

8. Home environments can be chaotic. Although some students can do homework in a quiet room without distractions, that is not the case for most kids. There are numerous events that happen at home which can pull a child’s attention away from the work that their teacher wants them to do. It isn’t just the Internet, video games, and television which are problematic either. Household chores, family issues, employment, and athletic requirements can make it a challenge to get the assigned work finished on time.

List of the Cons of Banning Homework

1. Homework allows parents to be involved with the educational process. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their children about what they are learning, the answers tend to be in generalities instead of specifics. By sending home work from the classroom, it allows parents to see and experience the work that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then moms and dads can get involved with the learning process to reinforce the core concepts that were discovered by their children each day.

2. It can help parents and teachers identify learning disabilities. Many children develop a self-defense mechanism which allows them to appear like any other kid that is in their classroom. This process allows them to hide learning disabilities which may be hindering their educational progress. The presence of homework makes it possible for parents and teachers to identify this issue because kids can’t hide their struggles when they must work 1-on-1 with their parents on specific subjects. Banning homework would eliminate 50% of the opportunities to identify potential issues immediately.

3. Homework allows teachers to observe how their students understand the material. Teachers often use homework as a way to gauge how well a student is understanding the materials they are learning. Although some might point out that assignments and exams in the classroom can do the same thing, testing often requires preparation at home. It creates more anxiety and stress sometimes then even homework does. That is why banning it can be problematic for some students. Some students experience more pressure than they would during this assessment process when quizzes and tests are the only measurement of their success.

4. It teaches students how to manage their time wisely. As people grow older, they realize that time is a finite commodity. We must manage it wisely to maximize our productivity. Homework assignments are a way to encourage the development of this skill at an early age. The trick is to keep the amount of time required for the work down to a manageable level. As a general rule, students should spend about 10 minutes each school day doing homework, organizing their schedule around this need. If there are scheduling conflicts, then this process offers families a chance to create priorities.

5. Homework encourages students to be accountable for their role. Teachers are present in the classroom to offer access to information and skill-building opportunities that can improve the quality of life for each student. Administrators work to find a curriculum that will benefit the most people in an efficient way. Parents work hard to ensure their kids make it to school on time, follow healthy routines, and communicate with their school district to ensure the most effective learning opportunities possible. None of that matters if the student is not invested in the work in the first place. Homework assignments not only teach children how to work independently, but they also show them how to take responsibility for their part of the overall educational process.

6. It helps to teach important life lessons. Homework is an essential tool in the development of life lessons, such as communicating with others or comprehending something they have just read. It teaches kids how to think, solve problems, and even build an understanding for the issues that occur in our society right now. Many of the issues that lead to the idea to ban homework occur because someone in the life of a student communicated to them that this work was a waste of time. There are times in life when people need to do things that they don’t like or want to do. Homework helps a student begin to find the coping skills needed to be successful in that situation.

7. Homework allows for further research into class materials. Most classrooms offer less than 1 hour of instruction per subject during the day. For many students, that is not enough time to obtain a firm grasp on the materials being taught. Having homework assignments allows a student to perform more research, using their at-home tools to take a deeper look into the materials that would otherwise be impossible if homework was banned. That process can lead to a more significant understanding of the concepts involved, reducing anxiety levels because they have a complete grasp on the materials.

The pros and cons of banning homework is a decision that ultimately lies with each school district. Parents always have the option to pursue homeschooling or online learning if they disagree with the decisions that are made in this area. Whether you’re for more homework or want to see less of it, we can all agree on the fact that the absence of any reliable data about its usefulness makes it a challenge to know for certain which option is the best one to choose in this debate.

Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

  • Posted January 17, 2012
  • By Lory Hough

Sign: Are you down with or done with homework?

The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.

It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.

This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.

"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.

Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.

But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.

The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.

For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.

But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.

Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?

"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."

Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.

Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?

"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."

Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.

"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."

Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."

One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.

"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.

Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.

As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."

That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."

These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.

"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."

Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.

"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.

Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.

And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."

Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.

"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."

The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.

"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"

Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.

"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"

Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."

According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."

So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.

"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."

Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.

"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."

So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.

Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.

"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."

Read a January 2014 update.

Homework Policy Still Going Strong

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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School Life Balance , Tips for Online Students

The Pros and Cons of Homework

The-Pros-and-Cons-Should-Students-Have-Homework

Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  energepic.com  from  Pexels

Why should students have homework, 1. homework encourages practice.

Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.

A female student who doesn’t want to do homework.

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework.

While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom.

Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.

The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements.

It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity.

Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however.

On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.

The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.

It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.

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Special Topic / The Case For and Against Homework

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The Case for Homework

The case against homework, the dangers of ignoring the research, grade level, time spent on homework, parent involvement, going beyond the research.

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Special Topic / The Case For and Against Homework - table

Two meta-analyses by Cooper and colleagues (Cooper, 1989a; Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006) are the most comprehensive and rigorous. The 1989 meta-analysis reviewed research dating as far back as the 1930s; the 2006 study reviewed research from 1987 to 2003. Commenting on studies that attempted to examine the causal relationship between homework and student achievement by comparing experimental (homework) and control (no homework) groups, Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) noted, With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant. Therefore, we think it would not be imprudent, based on the evidence in hand, to conclude that doing homework causes improved academic achievement. (p. 48)
In a third book, The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing (2006a), Kohn took direct aim at the research on homework. In this book and in a recent article in Phi Delta Kappan (2006b), he became quite personal in his condemnation of researchers. For example, referring to Harris Cooper, the lead author of the two leading meta-analyses on homework, Kohn noted, A careful reading of Cooper's own studies . . . reveals further examples of his determination to massage the numbers until they yield something—anything—on which to construct a defense of homework for younger children. (2006a, p. 84)He also attacked a section on homework in our book Classroom Instruction that Works (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).
  • Grades 4–6: ES = .15 (Percentile gain = 6)
  • Grades 7–9: ES = .31 (Percentile gain = 12)
  • Grades 10–12: ES = .64 (Percentile gain = 24)
The pattern clearly indicates that homework has smaller effects at lower grade levels. Even so, Cooper (1989b) still recommended homework for elementary students because homework for young children should help them develop good study habits, foster positive attitudes toward school, and communicate to students the idea that learning takes work at home as well as at school. (p. 90)
  • For students in the earliest grades , it should foster positive attitudes, habits, and character traits; permit appropriate parent involvement; and reinforce learning of simple skills introduced in class.
  • For students in upper elementary grades , it should play a more direct role in fostering improved school achievement.
  • In 6th grade and beyond , it should play an important role in improving standardized test scores and grades.
One of the more contentious issues in the homework debate is the amount of time students should spend on homework. The Cooper synthesis (1989a) reported that for junior high school students, the benefits increased as time increased, up to 1 to 2 hours of homework a night, and then decreased. The Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) study reported similar findings: 7 to 12 hours of homework per week produced the largest effect size for 12th grade students. The researchers suggested that for 12th graders the optimum amount of homework might lie between 1.5 and 2.5 hours per night, but they cautioned that no hard-and-fast rules are warranted. Still, researchers have offered various recommendations. For example, Good and Brophy (2003) cautioned that teachers must take care not to assign too much homework. They suggested that homework must be realistic in length and difficulty given the students' abilities to work independently. Thus, 5 to 10 minutes per subject might be appropriate for 4th graders, whereas 30 to 60 minutes might be appropriate for college-bound high school students. (p. 394)
Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) also issued a strong warning about too much homework: Even for these oldest students, too much homework may diminish its effectiveness or even become counterproductive. (p 53)
  • Parents receive clear guidelines spelling out their role.
  • Teachers do not expect parents to act as experts regarding content or to attempt to teach the content.
  • Parents ask questions that help students clarify and summarize what they have learned.
Good and Brophy (2003) provided the following recommendations regarding parent involvement: Especially useful for parent-child relations purposes are assignments calling for students to show or explain their written work or other products completed at school to their parents and get their reactions (Epstein, 2001; Epstein, Simon, & Salinas, 1997) or to interview their parents to develop information about parental experiences or opinions relating to topics studied in social studies (Alleman & Brophy, 1998). Such assignments cause students and their parents or other family members to become engaged in conversations that relate to the academic curriculum and thus extend the students' learning. Furthermore, because these are likely to be genuine conversations rather than more formally structured teaching/learning tasks, both parents and children are likely to experience them as enjoyable rather than threatening. (p. 395)
Riehl (2006) pointed out the similarity between education research and medical research. She commented, When reported in the popular media, medical research often appears as a blunt instrument, able to obliterate skeptics or opponents by the force of its evidence and arguments. . . . Yet repeated visits to the medical journals themselves can leave a much different impression. The serious medical journals convey the sense that medical research is an ongoing conversation and quest, punctuated occasionally by important findings that can and should alter practice, but more often characterized by continuing investigations. These investigations, taken cumulatively, can inform the work of practitioners who are building their own local knowledge bases on medical care. (pp. 27–28)

Research-Based Homework Guidelines

Assign purposeful homework. Legitimate purposes for homework include introducing new content, practicing a skill or process that students can do independently but not fluently, elaborating on information that has been addressed in class to deepen students' knowledge, and providing opportunities for students to explore topics of their own interest.

Design homework to maximize the chances that students will complete it. For example, ensure that homework is at the appropriate level of difficulty. Students should be able to complete homework assignments independently with relatively high success rates, but they should still find the assignments challenging enough to be interesting.

Involve parents in appropriate ways (for example, as a sounding board to help students summarize what they learned from the homework) without requiring parents to act as teachers or to police students' homework completion.

Carefully monitor the amount of homework assigned so that it is appropriate to students' age levels and does not take too much time away from other home activities.

Balli, S. J. (1998). When mom and dad help: Student reflections on parent involvement with homework. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 31 (3), 142–148.

Bangert-Drowns, R. L., Kulik, C. C., Kulik, J. A., & Morgan, M. (1991). The instructional effects of feedback in test-like events. Review of Educational Research, 61 (2), 213–238.

Bennett, S., & Kalish, N. (2006). The case against homework: How homework is hurting our children and what we can do about it . New York: Crown.

Bloom, B. S. (1984). The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to one tutoring. Educational Leadership, 41 (8), 4–18.

Cooper, H. (1989a). Homework . White Plains, NY: Longman.

Cooper, H. (1989b). Synthesis of research on homework. Educational Leadership, 47 (3), 85–91.

Cooper, H. (2007). The battle over homework (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1–62.

Corno, L. (1996). Homework is a complicated thing. Educational Researcher, 25 (8), 27–30.

Epstein, J. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools . Boulder, CO: Westview.

Epstein, J. L., & Becker, H. J. (1982). Teachers' reported practices of parent involvement: Problems and possibilities. Elementary School Journal, 83 , 103–113.

Fraser, B. J., Walberg, H. J., Welch, W. W., & Hattie, J. A. (1987). Synthesis of educational productivity research [Special issue]. International Journal of Educational Research, 11 (2), 145–252.

Gill, B. P., & Schlossman, S. L. (2000). The lost cause of homework reform. American Journal of Education, 109 , 27–62.

Good, T. L., & Brophy, J. E. (2003). Looking in classrooms (9th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Graue, M. E., Weinstein, T., & Walberg, H. J. (1983). School-based home instruction and learning: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Educational Research, 76 , 351–360.

Hattie, J. A. (1992). Measuring the effects of schooling. Australian Journal of Education, 36 (1), 5–13.

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Bassler, O. C., & Burow, R. (1995). Parents' reported involvement in students' homework: Strategies and practices. The Elementary School Journal, 95 (5), 435–450.

Kavale, K. A. (1988). Using meta-analyses to answer the question: What are the important influences on school learning? School Psychology Review, 17 (4), 644–650.

Kohn, A. (2006a). The homework myth: Why our kids get too much of a bad thing . Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Kohn, A. (2006b). Abusing research: The study of homework and other examples. Phi Delta Kappan. 88 (1), 9–22.

Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2000). The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning . Boston: Beacon.

Marzano, R. J., & Pickering, D. J. (2007). Response to Kohn's allegations . Centennial, CO: Marzano & Associates. Available: http://marzanoandassociates.com/documents/KohnResponse.pdf

Marzano, R. J., & Pickering, D. J. (in press). Errors and allegations about research on homework. Phi Delta Kappan .

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement . Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

National Education Commission on Time and Learning (1994). Prisoners of time . Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Paschal, R. A., Weinstein, T., & Walberg, H. J. (1984). The effects of homework on learning: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Educational Research, 78 , 97–104.

Perkins, P. G., & Milgram, R. B. (1996). Parental involvement in homework: A double-edge sword. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 6 (3), 195–203.

Riehl, C. (2006). Feeling better: A comparison of medical research and education research. Educational Researcher, 35 (5), 24–29.

Van Voorhis, F. (2003). Interactive homework in middle school: Effects on family involvement and science achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 96 , 323–338.

Walberg, H. J. (1999). Productive teaching. In H. C. Waxman & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), New directions for teaching practice research (pp. 75–104). Berkeley, CA: McCutchen.

Wallis, C. (2006). Viewpoint: The myth about homework. Time, 168 (10), 57.

• 1 For a more detailed response to Kohn's views on homework, see Marzano & Pickering (2007) and Marzano & Pickering (in press).

homework against arguments

Robert Marzano is the CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory in Centennial, CO, which provides research-based, partner-centered support for educators and education agencies—with the goal of helping teachers improve educational practice.

As strategic advisor, Robert brings over 50 years of experience in action-based education research, professional development, and curriculum design to Marzano Research. He has expertise in standards-based assessment, cognition, school leadership, and competency-based education, among a host of areas.

He is the author of 30 books, 150 articles and chapters in books, and 100 sets of curriculum materials for teachers and students in grades K–12.

homework against arguments

The late Debra J. Pickering consulted with schools and districts nationally and internationally as vice president of field services for Marzano Research Laboratory. She passed away in 2020.

In addition to her work with schools, Pickering coauthored (with Robert Marzano) educational books and manuals, including  Dimensions of Learning ,  Classroom Instruction That Works ,  Classroom Management That Works , and  Building Academic Vocabulary .

With a combination of theoretical grounding and more than three decades of practical experience, Pickering worked with educators to translate theory into practice. In later years her work continued to focus on the study of learning and the development of resources for curriculum, instruction, and assessment to help all educators meet the needs of all students.

Pickering had a master's degree in school administration and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis in cognitive psychology.

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27 Top Homework Pros and Cons

homework pros and cons

There are both pros and cons of homework. This makes whether schools should assign homework a great debating topic for students.

On the side of the pros, homework is beneficial because it can be great for helping students get through their required coursework and reinforce required knowledge. But it also interferes with life outside of school.

Key arguments for homework include the fact it gives students structure, improves their learning, and improves parent-teacher relationships.

Arguments for the cons of homework include the fact it interferes with playtime and causes stress to children, leading to arguments that homework should be banned .

Pros and Cons of Homework (Table Summary)

Pros of homework, 1. homework teaches discipline and habit.

Discipline and habit are two soft skills that children need to develop so they can succeed in life.

Regular daily homework is a simple way that discipline and habit are reinforced. Teachers can talk to students about what they do when they get home from school.

They might develop a habit like getting changed into a new set of clothes, having an afternoon snack, then getting out their homework.

Teachers can also help students visualize these habits and disciplines by talking about where they will do their homework (kitchen table?) and when .

2. Homework helps parents know what’s being learned in class

Parents often appreciate being kept in the loop about what is going on in their child’s classroom. Homework is great for this!

Teachers can set homework based on the current unit of work in the classroom. If the students are learning about dinosaurs, the homework can be a task on dinosaurs.

This helps the teachers to show the parents the valuable learning that’s taking place, and allows parents to feel comfortable that the teacher is doing a great job.

3. Homework teaches time management

Children often have a wide range of after school activities to undertake. They need to develop the skill of managing all these activities to fit homework in.

At school, children’s time is closely managed and controlled. Every lesson ends and begins with a bell or a teacher command.

At some point, children need to learn to manage their own time. Homework is an easy way to start refining this important soft skill.

4. Homework gives students self-paced learning time

At school, a lesson has a clear beginning and end. Students who are struggling may be interrupted and need more time. Homework allows them to work on these tasks at their own pace.

When I was studying math in high school, I never got my work done in time. I understood concepts slower than my peers, and I needed more time to reinforce concepts.

Homework was my chance to keep up, by studying at my own pace.

5. Homework can reduce screen time

Paper-based homework can take students away from their afternoon cartoons and video games and get them working on something of more value.

Screen time is one of the biggest concerns for educators and parents in the 21 st Century. Children spend approximately 5 to 7 hours in front of screens per day.

While screens aren’t all bad, children generally spend more time at screens than is necessary. Homework tasks such as collecting things from the yard or interviewing grandparents gets kids away from screens and into more active activities.

6. Homework gives students productive afternoon activities

Too often, children get home from school and switch off their brains by watching cartoons or playing video games. Homework can be more productive.

Good homework should get students actively thinking. A teacher can set homework that involves creating a product, conducting interviews with family, or writing a story based on things being learned in class.

But even homework that involves repetition of math and spelling tasks can be far more productive than simply watching television.

7. Homework reinforces information taught in class

For difficult tasks, students often need to be exposed to content over and over again until they reach mastery of the topic .

To do this, sometimes you need to do old-fashioned repetition of tasks. Take, for example, algebra. Students will need to repeat the process over and over again so that they will instinctively know how to complete the task when they sit their standardized test.

Of course, the teacher needs to teach and reinforce these foundational skills at school before independent homework practice takes place.

8. Homework helps motivated students to get ahead

Many students who have set themselves the goal of coming first in their class want to do homework to get an advantage over their peers.

Students who want to excel should not be stopped from doing this. If they enjoy homework and it makes them smarter or better at a task, then they should be allowed to do this.

9. Homework gives parents and children time together

When a parent helps their child with homework (by educating and quizzing them, not cheating!), they get a chance to bond.

Working together to complete a task can be good for the relationship between the parent and the child. The parents can also feel good that they’re supporting the child to become more educated.

10. Homework improves parent-teacher relationships

Parents get an inside look at what’s happening at school to improve their trust with the teacher, while also helping the teacher do their job.

Trust between parents and teachers is very important. Parents want to know the teacher is working hard to support students and help them learn. By looking at their children’s homework, they get a good idea of what’s going on in the classroom.

The parent can also feel good about helping the teacher’s mission by sitting with the child during homework and helping to reinforce what’s been learned at school.

11. Homework helps teachers get through the crowded curriculum

Teachers are increasingly asked to teach more and more content each year. Homework can be helpful in making sure it all gets done.

Decades ago, teachers had time to dedicate lessons to repeating and practicing content learned. Today, they’re under pressure to teach one thing then quickly move onto the next. We call this phenomenon the “crowded curriculum”.

Today, teachers may need to teach the core skills in class then ask students to go home and practice what’s been taught to fast-track learning.

12. Homework provides spaced repetition for long-term memorization

Spaced repetition is a strategy that involves quizzing students intermittently on things learned in previous weeks and months.

For example, if students learned division in January, they may forget about it by June. But if the teacher provides division questions for homework in January, March, and May, then the students always keep that knowledge of how to do division in their mind.

Spaced repetition theory states that regularly requiring students to recall information that’s been pushed to the back of their mind can help, over time, commit that information to their long-term memory and prevent long-term forgetting.

13. Homework supports a flipped learning model to make the most of time with the teacher

Flipped learning is a model of education where students do preparation before class so they get to class prepared to learn.

Examples of flipped learning include pre-teaching vocabulary (e.g. giving children new words to learn for homework that they will use in a future in-class lesson), and asking students to watch preparatory videos before class.

This model of homework isn’t about reinforcing things learned in class, but learning things before class to be more prepared for lessons.

14. Homework improves student achievement

An influential review of the literature on homework by Mazano and Pickering (2007) found that homework does improve student achievement.

Another review of the literature by Cooper, Robinson and Patall (2006) similarly found that homework improves achievement. In this review, the authors highlighted that homework appeared more beneficial for high school students’ grades than elementary school students’ grades.

Several progressive education critics , especially Alfie Kohn , have claimed that homework does not help student grades. We have not found the critics’ evidence to be as compelling.

15. Homework helps the education system keep up with other countries’ systems

All nations are competing with one another to have the best education system (measured by standardized tests ). If other countries are assigning homework and your country isn’t, your country will be at a disadvantage.

The main way education systems are compared is the OECD ranking of education systems. This ranking compared standardized test scores on major subjects.

Western nations have been slipping behind Asian nations for several decades. Many Asian education systems have a culture of assigning a lot of homework. To keep up, America may also need to assign homework and encourage their kids to do more homework.

See Also: Homework Statistics List

Cons of Homework

1. homework interferes with play time.

Play-based learning is some of the best learning that can possibly occurs. When children go home from school, the play they do before sunset is hugely beneficial for their development.

Homework can prevent children from playing. Instead, they’re stuck inside repeating tasks on standardized homework sheets.

Of course, if there is no homework, parents would have to make sure children are engaging in beneficial play as well, rather than simply watching TV.

2. Homework interferes with extracurricular activities

After school, many children want to participate in extracurricular activities like sporting and community events.

However, if too much homework is assigned to learners, their parents may not be able to sign them up to co-curricular activities in the school or extracurricular activities outside of the school. This can prevent students from having well-rounded holistic development.

3. Homework discourages students from going outside and getting exercise

Homework is usually an indoors activity. Usually, teachers will assign spelling, math, or science tasks to be repeated through the week on paper or a computer.

But children need time to go outside and get exercise. The CDC recommends children ages 6 to 17 need 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day.

Unfortunately, being stuck indoors may prevent children from getting that much needed exercise for well-rounded development.

4. Homework leads to unsupervised and unsupportive learning

When students get stuck on a task at school, the teacher is there to help. But when students are stuck on a homework task, no support is available.

This leads to a situation where students’ learning and development is harmed. Furthermore, those students who do understand the task can go ahead and get more homework practice done while struggling students can’t progress because the teacher isn’t there to help them through their hurdles.

Often, it’s down to parents to pick up the challenge of teaching their children during homework time. Unfortunately, not all students have parents nearby to help them during homework time.

5. Homework can encourage cheating

When children study without supervision, they have the opportunity to cheat without suffering consequences.

They could, for example, copy their sibling’s homework or use the internet to find answers.

Worse, some parents may help their child to cheat or do the homework for the child. In these cases, homework has no benefit of the child but may teach them bad and unethical habits.

6. Homework contributes to a culture of poor work-life balance

Homework instils a corporate attitude that prioritizes work above everything else. It prepares students for a social norm where you do work for your job even when you’re off the clock.

Students will grow up thinking it’s normal to clock off from their job, go home, and continue to check emails and complete work they didn’t get done during the day.

This sort of culture is bad for society. It interferes with family and recreation time and encourages bosses to behave like they’re in charge of your whole life.

7. Homework discourages children from taking up hobbies

There is an argument to be made that children need spare time so they can learn about what they like and don’t like.

If students have spare time after school, they could fill it up with hobbies. The student can think about what they enjoy (playing with dolls, riding bikes, singing, writing stories).

Downtime encourages people to develop hobbies. Students need this downtime, and homework can interfere with this.

8. Homework creates unfairness between children with parents helping and those who don’t

At school, students generally have a level playing field. They are all in the same classroom with the same resources and the same teacher. At home, it’s a different story.

Some children have parents, siblings, and internet to rely upon. Meanwhile, others have nothing but themselves and a pen.

Those children who are lucky enough to have parents helping out can get a significant advantage over their peers, causing unfairness and inequalities that are not of their own making.

9. Homework causes stress and anxiety

In a study by Galloway, Connor and Pope (2013), they found that 56% of students identified homework as the greatest cause of stress in their lives.

Stress among young people can impact their happiness and mental health. Furthermore, there is an argument to “let kids be kids”. We have a whole life of work and pressure ahead of us. Childhood is a time to be enjoyed without the pressures of life.

10. Homework is often poor-quality work

Teachers will often assign homework that is the less important work and doesn’t have a clear goal.

Good teachers know that a lesson needs to be planned-out with a beginning, middle and end. There usually should be formative assessment as well, which is assessment of students as they learn (rather than just at the end).

But homework doesn’t have the structure of a good lesson. It’s repetition of information already learned, which is a behaviorist learning model that is now outdated for many tasks.

11. Homework is solitary learning

Most education theorists today believe that the best learning occurs in social situations.

Sociocultural learning requires students to express their thoughts and opinions and listen to other people’s ideas. This helps them improve and refine their own thinking through dialogue.

But homework usually takes place alone at the kitchen table. Students don’t have anyone to talk with about what they’re doing, meaning their learning is limited.

12. Homework widens social inequality

Homework can advantage wealthier students and disadvantage poorer students.

In Kralovec and Buell’s (2001) book The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning , the authors argue that poorer students are less likely to have the resources to complete their homework properly.

For example, they might not have the pens, paper, and drawing implements to complete a paper task. Similarly, they might not have the computer, internet connection, or even books to do appropriate research at home.

Parents in poorer households also often work shift work and multiple jobs meaning they have less time to help their children with their homework.

Homework can be both good and bad – there are both advantages and disadvantages of homework. In general, it’s often the case that it depends on the type of homework that is assigned. Well-planned homework used in moderation and agreed upon by teachers, parents and students can be helpful. But other homework can cause serious stress, inequality, and lifestyle imbalance for students.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003.  Review of educational research ,  76 (1), 1-62.

Galloway, M., Conner, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools.  The journal of experimental education ,  81 (4), 490-510. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.745469

Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2001).  The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning . Beacon Press.

Pressman, R. M., Sugarman, D. B., Nemon, M. L., Desjarlais, J., Owens, J. A., & Schettini-Evans, A. (2015). Homework and family stress: With consideration of parents’ self confidence, educational level, and cultural background.  The American Journal of Family Therapy ,  43 (4), 297-313. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1061407

Ren, H., Zhou, Z., Liu, W., Wang, X., & Yin, Z. (2017). Excessive homework, inadequate sleep, physical inactivity and screen viewing time are major contributors to high paediatric obesity.  Acta Paediatrica ,  106 (1), 120-127. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13640

Yeo, S. C., Tan, J., Lo, J. C., Chee, M. W., & Gooley, J. J. (2020). Associations of time spent on homework or studying with nocturnal sleep behavior and depression symptoms in adolescents from Singapore.  Sleep Health ,  6 (6), 758-766. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2020.04.011

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Should Kids Get Homework?

Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.

Mother helping son with homework at home

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Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful.

How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.

Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.

But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.

Value of Homework

Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."

Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.

"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."

Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.

"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."

Negative Homework Assignments

Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.

But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.

Homework that's just busy work.

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.

"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.

Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.

" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.

But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.

Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.

"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."

Private vs. Public Schools

Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.

Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.

"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."

How to Address Homework Overload

First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.

"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."

But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.

"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."

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Student Opinion

Should We Get Rid of Homework?

Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?

homework against arguments

By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar

Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?

Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?

Should we get rid of homework?

In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:

Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”

Mr. Kang argues:

But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Should we get rid of homework? Why, or why not?

Is homework an outdated, ineffective or counterproductive tool for learning? Do you agree with the authors of the paper that homework is harmful and worsens inequalities that exist between students’ home circumstances?

Or do you agree with Mr. Kang that homework still has real educational value?

When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Do you think the amount is appropriate, too much or too little? Is homework, including the projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or, in your opinion, is it not a good use of time? Explain.

In these letters to the editor , one reader makes a distinction between elementary school and high school:

Homework’s value is unclear for younger students. But by high school and college, homework is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to excel. There simply isn’t time to digest Dostoyevsky if you only ever read him in class.

What do you think? How much does grade level matter when discussing the value of homework?

Is there a way to make homework more effective?

If you were a teacher, would you assign homework? What kind of assignments would you give and why?

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column . Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Jeremy Engle joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country. More about Jeremy Engle

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Adam Simpson - Homework: Should we give it or not?

homework against arguments

Homework… should we or shouldn’t we? What are the benefits and what are the drawbacks? Are we really helping our learners develop their language skills or are we merely complicating their lives? Here are my favourite four arguments for and against giving learners homework:

The case for #1: Class time isn’t enough and learners need extra practice

Homework should, above all else, serve to review and build upon what has been learned in class, or to offer further practice of something that was new and particularly tricky. With this in mind, make sure that whatever homework you assign can be completed by learners independently and with relative ease.

Homework that gives the student an opportunity to further practice what he or she has just learned in class to further fix the concepts in their mind can be extremely worthwhile. Ideally, it should be something that is useful but that might have been boring had it been done in class (such as a gap fill exercise).

KEY QUESTIONS:

  • Does this build on what you did in class?
  • Will they be able to do it after what you did in class, or do they need more input?
  • Is it something that would, realistically, have been a waste of class time, in terms of not maximizing their contact with you as their teacher?

The case against #1: People need a life

If you teach adults, it’s almost entirely likely that they will have a work life and a social life outside of your classroom. Are you really doing them a favour by eating into this time with your demands that they do extra study?

If you teach young learners, these children need unstructured play time to become social creatures more than they need homework from you. Homework can have a negative influence on learning experiences.

Adults in particular will feel guilty about not doing the work you’ve assigned… or resentment about having to do it when they should be getting on with something else. This will affect how they feel about your class and not in a good way. Children will also be negatively affected by the addition of homework.

IF YOU REALLY MUST…

  • Find out how much time your learners have to do homework and assign work accordingly.

The case for #2: Homework helps learners remember the things they’ve learned in class

Homework can do a great job of reinforcing the content of lessons, and provides a valuable opportunity for extra practice… before they have a chance to forget everything! Basically, homework should always supplement and mentally click that ‘I remember’ button, so don’t assign new material because there’s a big chance that A) they will not understand it, and B) they will become frustrated with the tasks, as well as being less open to discussing the work in class later on. This point is particularly important with classes that you see infrequently, as they have many chances to forget what you did in the last class!

  • Is this a useful reminder and revision of a tricky new language point?
  • Does it present new concepts?
  • Does it go over something you did in class but in a slightly different way?

The case against #2: Let’s face it, you don’t really know what you’re doing

As qualified as you might be and with as much knowledge of teaching pedagogy as you might have, do you honestly believe you know exactly what you’re doing when you assign homework? What objectives are you aiming to cover? How will this further your learners’ ability to do whatever it is you’ve done in class? Granted, a lot of coursebooks have workbooks which are largely intended for self study, but you nevertheless have to be careful that there is a definite purpose behind what you’re assigning.

  • Consult your learners and ask them what they see as an appropriate follow-up task for them to do at home to supplement what you have done in class.

The case for #3: Homework can help learners make more rapid progress in their language acquisition

Homework can provide valuable practice of the skills learned in the classroom. We know that we are pushed for time and that each lesson is valuable contact time. We don’t want to be going into too much detail or doing too many tasks on one language point, regardless of whether or not the learners need it. At some point, you need to provide ways for that practice to take place in the learners’ own time, so you can get on with new stuff next lesson!

  • Does it compliment what you’ve done in class in a useful way?
  • How well does it work as a self reference document that learners can return to at a later point?

The case against #3: Homework doesn’t lead to better performance

Too much homework can be a bad thing. Research indicates there is a weak link between achievement and homework, particularly in young learners. Furthermore, countries that assign more homework don’t outperform those with less homework. Countries such as America and the UK have relatively high levels of homework in schools and yet don’t show a correlation with high performance. Japan is one country that has taken the opposite route, having instituted no homework policies at younger levels to allow family time and personal interests. Finland, one of the most successful nations in terms of international tests, limits high school homework to half an hour per night. While a small amount of well thought out homework can be beneficial, assigning excessive amounts of homework is at best counterproductive.

  • A good tactic, particularly for teachers of young learners, is to assign homework for improving study skills, rather than learning.
  • Assign homework that is uncomplicated and short, which involves families or friends, and which above all engages learner interests.

The case for #4: Homework can allow learners to use materials and other sources of information that are not always available in the class room

Some of us have the luxury of computers and projectors in class, others do not. Some exercises that are on the net work best as self study materials anyway. Think about the resource you want learners to use and in particular whether it is more suited to classroom use or for personal study. Furthermore, assigning research tasks that require learners to go out into the wider world and independently find resources that link to what you did in class can be a useful and motivating activity.

  • Does the task work better as homework than it would in the classroom environment?
  • How can you get learners to find a resource that develops on what you did in class?

The case against #4: They don’t really need it

People are constantly learning in the 21st Century and traditional homework should become obsolete within the next decade. Thanks to technology, learning is now a constant in our lives. With access to applications, software programs, as well as educational websites such as the Khan Academy, learning is an ongoing process. So much of what learners can access is through the medium of English that it is unlikely that they can spend many days of their lives without acquiring some knowledge of the language from their everyday environment.

  • Instead of assigning homework, utilise the technological tools that your learners use in their everyday lives. Get them doing something in English with their phones or on Facebook.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of homework, but used correctly it can be a good teaching tool. To use it effectively, you have to ensure that it is benefiting your learners and that the exercises you give them are not merely busy work.

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In Defense of Homework: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?

A former teacher stands by her assignments.

As a middle school and high school teacher, I assigned a lot of homework to my students. And though writers such as Alfie Kohn , author of The Homework Myth, make sound arguments against it -- particularly the drill-and-kill variety -- I stand behind the homework I gave. Why? In the twelve years I taught in low-income urban and rural schools, I saw my students extend their skills, their understanding of their communities, and their sense of themselves when given well-crafted take-home assignments.

homework against arguments

My long-term goals for my students, and the skills I thought they'd need to reach those goals, drove what homework I assigned. I wanted all my students to have the opportunity to attend college, to carry a lust for learning into adulthood, to have engaging employment, and to build meaningful relationships. To do so, they needed to adopt some learning behaviors -- to engage intellectually outside of class, access resources, read independently, write and revise, and work with others.

Ideally, students have meaningful after-school internships where they would apply classroom learning, build independence, and foster relationships with peers and adults. Because we're not living that ideal, I believe the right homework can help.

My students didn't have instant access to an academic network, so often I required them to identify and use community resources: They got library cards. They identified tutoring centers. They frequently found appropriate adults and peers to engage and edit their writing. These assignments helped combat their teacher fatigue and required that they stretch beyond their comfort zones to ask bosses, older cousins, or former teachers for academic help. To be honest, some of these assignments mattered to me but were hardly the standards-based activities my administrators looked for during class hours; homework sometimes allowed me to address my standards, not just California's.

Metacognitive assignments also proved particularly effective. Students completed logs describing their thought processes during independent reading. Or, building on reading strategies I'd teach in class, they'd revisit chunks of text at home, recording their questions, connections, and predictions. Later sharing these responses with their peers, students made meaning of text together (often while I took roll!) and I quickly assessed what needed reteaching.

The more metacognitive strategies I taught, the more freedom students had with homework; by year's end students picked strategies from a huge "toolbox" to help them grapple with that night's text. Students overwhelmingly reported that metacognition, much of which has to be done independently, built their reading confidence and skills.

Perhaps the most motivating and challenging homework? Oral history projects. Students interviewed family members about immigration and migration, transcribed tape, created and revised narratives, and published their work. In the process, they didn't just address hard-to-cover standards, participate in organic grammar exercises, and handle equipment; more importantly, they connected with adults in their lives, learned about history (their own, each others', and California's), and started to see themselves as the community's storytellers. All these results came from the interviews, which took place in kitchens and family rooms across San Francisco.

These assignments worked for my students, and necessarily took place outside of school. Even simple journal responses to literature, letters to me, or bringing in found poetry gave students a chance at personal expression otherwise impossible in large classes. And when the assignment was right, students were active rather than passive, making connections between one day of class and the next, not waiting for their teacher to provide the next "show."

As with most conversations about education, we can't separate the question of homework from questions of equity. I'm not arguing that thoughtfully created homework levels the playing field -- affluent families surely assist and prod more than struggling ones. But I worry about the outcome if every U.S. school were to embrace Kohn's radical query: What if we just didn't assign homework at all? While middle- and upper-class families still took vacations, paid for tutoring, and enrolled kids in music classes and language schools, would children from families with less social capital have even fewer learning opportunities to help them in school?

Even if we wanted to, in the end, most teachers won't experiment with Kohn's imaginings and ban all homework. In our No Child Left Behind era of scripted curricula and diminished teacher creativity, few instructors have the autonomy to make such decisions on their own.

What the anti-homework camp does, though, is remind us that there are different types of homework and that those differences are significant. Teachers who read Kohn's argument against homework probably will, as I have, revisit what homework they assign and why. Kohn does for teachers what good homework should do for kids -- he gets us reflecting on experiences, thinking about practice, and talking to each other about the meaning of our work.

Lisa Morehouse taught secondary English for twelve years in San Francisco and rural Georgia. She is now a public-radio journalist and an education consultant.

homework against arguments

Home » Tips for Teachers » 7 Research-Based Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework: Academic Insights, Opposing Perspectives & Alternatives

7 Research-Based Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework: Academic Insights, Opposing Perspectives & Alternatives

In recent years, the question of why students should not have homework has become a topic of intense debate among educators, parents, and students themselves. This discussion stems from a growing body of research that challenges the traditional view of homework as an essential component of academic success. The notion that homework is an integral part of learning is being reevaluated in light of new findings about its effectiveness and impact on students’ overall well-being.

Why Students Should Not Have Homework

The push against homework is not just about the hours spent on completing assignments; it’s about rethinking the role of education in fostering the well-rounded development of young individuals. Critics argue that homework, particularly in excessive amounts, can lead to negative outcomes such as stress, burnout, and a diminished love for learning. Moreover, it often disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbating educational inequities. The debate also highlights the importance of allowing children to have enough free time for play, exploration, and family interaction, which are crucial for their social and emotional development.

Checking 13yo’s math homework & I have just one question. I can catch mistakes & help her correct. But what do kids do when their parent isn’t an Algebra teacher? Answer: They get frustrated. Quit. Get a bad grade. Think they aren’t good at math. How is homework fair??? — Jay Wamsted (@JayWamsted) March 24, 2022

As we delve into this discussion, we explore various facets of why reducing or even eliminating homework could be beneficial. We consider the research, weigh the pros and cons, and examine alternative approaches to traditional homework that can enhance learning without overburdening students.

Once you’ve finished this article, you’ll know:

  • Insights from Teachers and Education Industry Experts →
  • 7 Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework →
  • Opposing Views on Homework Practices →
  • Exploring Alternatives to Homework →

Insights from Teachers and Education Industry Experts: Diverse Perspectives on Homework

In the ongoing conversation about the role and impact of homework in education, the perspectives of those directly involved in the teaching process are invaluable. Teachers and education industry experts bring a wealth of experience and insights from the front lines of learning. Their viewpoints, shaped by years of interaction with students and a deep understanding of educational methodologies, offer a critical lens through which we can evaluate the effectiveness and necessity of homework in our current educational paradigm.

Check out this video featuring Courtney White, a high school language arts teacher who gained widespread attention for her explanation of why she chooses not to assign homework.

Here are the insights and opinions from various experts in the educational field on this topic:

“I teach 1st grade. I had parents ask for homework. I explained that I don’t give homework. Home time is family time. Time to play, cook, explore and spend time together. I do send books home, but there is no requirement or checklist for reading them. Read them, enjoy them, and return them when your child is ready for more. I explained that as a parent myself, I know they are busy—and what a waste of energy it is to sit and force their kids to do work at home—when they could use that time to form relationships and build a loving home. Something kids need more than a few math problems a week.” — Colleen S. , 1st grade teacher
“The lasting educational value of homework at that age is not proven. A kid says the times tables [at school] because he studied the times tables last night. But over a long period of time, a kid who is drilled on the times tables at school, rather than as homework, will also memorize their times tables. We are worried about young children and their social emotional learning. And that has to do with physical activity, it has to do with playing with peers, it has to do with family time. All of those are very important and can be removed by too much homework.” — David Bloomfield , education professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York graduate center
“Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger. (…) Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it. It’s one of those lower hanging fruit that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, ‘Is it really making a difference?’” — John Hattie , professor
”Many kids are working as many hours as their overscheduled parents and it is taking a toll – psychologically and in many other ways too. We see kids getting up hours before school starts just to get their homework done from the night before… While homework may give kids one more responsibility, it ignores the fact that kids do not need to grow up and become adults at ages 10 or 12. With schools cutting recess time or eliminating playgrounds, kids absorb every single stress there is, only on an even higher level. Their brains and bodies need time to be curious, have fun, be creative and just be a kid.” — Pat Wayman, teacher and CEO of HowtoLearn.com

7 Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework

Let’s delve into the reasons against assigning homework to students. Examining these arguments offers important perspectives on the wider educational and developmental consequences of homework practices.

1. Elevated Stress and Health Consequences

Elevated Stress and Health Consequences

The ongoing debate about homework often focuses on its educational value, but a vital aspect that cannot be overlooked is the significant stress and health consequences it brings to students. In the context of American life, where approximately 70% of people report moderate or extreme stress due to various factors like mass shootings, healthcare affordability, discrimination, racism, sexual harassment, climate change, presidential elections, and the need to stay informed, the additional burden of homework further exacerbates this stress, particularly among students.

Key findings and statistics reveal a worrying trend:

  • Overwhelming Student Stress: A staggering 72% of students report being often or always stressed over schoolwork, with a concerning 82% experiencing physical symptoms due to this stress.
  • Serious Health Issues: Symptoms linked to homework stress include sleep deprivation, headaches, exhaustion, weight loss, and stomach problems.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Despite the National Sleep Foundation recommending 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep for healthy adolescent development, students average just 6.80 hours of sleep on school nights. About 68% of students stated that schoolwork often or always prevented them from getting enough sleep, which is critical for their physical and mental health.
  • Turning to Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Alarmingly, the pressure from excessive homework has led some students to turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with stress.

This data paints a concerning picture. Students, already navigating a world filled with various stressors, find themselves further burdened by homework demands. The direct correlation between excessive homework and health issues indicates a need for reevaluation. The goal should be to ensure that homework if assigned, adds value to students’ learning experiences without compromising their health and well-being.

By addressing the issue of homework-related stress and health consequences, we can take a significant step toward creating a more nurturing and effective educational environment. This environment would not only prioritize academic achievement but also the overall well-being and happiness of students, preparing them for a balanced and healthy life both inside and outside the classroom.

2. Inequitable Impact and Socioeconomic Disparities

Inequitable Impact and Socioeconomic Disparities

In the discourse surrounding educational equity, homework emerges as a factor exacerbating socioeconomic disparities, particularly affecting students from lower-income families and those with less supportive home environments. While homework is often justified as a means to raise academic standards and promote equity, its real-world impact tells a different story.

The inequitable burden of homework becomes starkly evident when considering the resources required to complete it, especially in the digital age. Homework today often necessitates a computer and internet access – resources not readily available to all students. This digital divide significantly disadvantages students from lower-income backgrounds, deepening the chasm between them and their more affluent peers.

Key points highlighting the disparities:

  • Digital Inequity: Many students lack access to necessary technology for homework, with low-income families disproportionately affected.
  • Impact of COVID-19: The pandemic exacerbated these disparities as education shifted online, revealing the extent of the digital divide.
  • Educational Outcomes Tied to Income: A critical indicator of college success is linked more to family income levels than to rigorous academic preparation. Research indicates that while 77% of students from high-income families graduate from highly competitive colleges, only 9% from low-income families achieve the same . This disparity suggests that the pressure of heavy homework loads, rather than leveling the playing field, may actually hinder the chances of success for less affluent students.

Moreover, the approach to homework varies significantly across different types of schools. While some rigorous private and preparatory schools in both marginalized and affluent communities assign extreme levels of homework, many progressive schools focusing on holistic learning and self-actualization opt for no homework, yet achieve similar levels of college and career success. This contrast raises questions about the efficacy and necessity of heavy homework loads in achieving educational outcomes.

The issue of homework and its inequitable impact is not just an academic concern; it is a reflection of broader societal inequalities. By continuing practices that disproportionately burden students from less privileged backgrounds, the educational system inadvertently perpetuates the very disparities it seeks to overcome.

3. Negative Impact on Family Dynamics

Negative Impact on Family Dynamics

Homework, a staple of the educational system, is often perceived as a necessary tool for academic reinforcement. However, its impact extends beyond the realm of academics, significantly affecting family dynamics. The negative repercussions of homework on the home environment have become increasingly evident, revealing a troubling pattern that can lead to conflict, mental health issues, and domestic friction.

A study conducted in 2015 involving 1,100 parents sheds light on the strain homework places on family relationships. The findings are telling:

  • Increased Likelihood of Conflicts: Families where parents did not have a college degree were 200% more likely to experience fights over homework.
  • Misinterpretations and Misunderstandings: Parents often misinterpret their children’s difficulties with homework as a lack of attention in school, leading to feelings of frustration and mistrust on both sides.
  • Discriminatory Impact: The research concluded that the current approach to homework disproportionately affects children whose parents have lower educational backgrounds, speak English as a second language, or belong to lower-income groups.

The issue is not confined to specific demographics but is a widespread concern. Samantha Hulsman, a teacher featured in Education Week Teacher , shared her personal experience with the toll that homework can take on family time. She observed that a seemingly simple 30-minute assignment could escalate into a three-hour ordeal, causing stress and strife between parents and children. Hulsman’s insights challenge the traditional mindset about homework, highlighting a shift towards the need for skills such as collaboration and problem-solving over rote memorization of facts.

The need of the hour is to reassess the role and amount of homework assigned to students. It’s imperative to find a balance that facilitates learning and growth without compromising the well-being of the family unit. Such a reassessment would not only aid in reducing domestic conflicts but also contribute to a more supportive and nurturing environment for children’s overall development.

4. Consumption of Free Time

Consumption of Free Time

In recent years, a growing chorus of voices has raised concerns about the excessive burden of homework on students, emphasizing how it consumes their free time and impedes their overall well-being. The issue is not just the quantity of homework, but its encroachment on time that could be used for personal growth, relaxation, and family bonding.

Authors Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish , in their book “The Case Against Homework,” offer an insightful window into the lives of families grappling with the demands of excessive homework. They share stories from numerous interviews conducted in the mid-2000s, highlighting the universal struggle faced by families across different demographics. A poignant account from a parent in Menlo Park, California, describes nightly sessions extending until 11 p.m., filled with stress and frustration, leading to a soured attitude towards school in both the child and the parent. This narrative is not isolated, as about one-third of the families interviewed expressed feeling crushed by the overwhelming workload.

Key points of concern:

  • Excessive Time Commitment: Students, on average, spend over 6 hours in school each day, and homework adds significantly to this time, leaving little room for other activities.
  • Impact on Extracurricular Activities: Homework infringes upon time for sports, music, art, and other enriching experiences, which are as crucial as academic courses.
  • Stifling Creativity and Self-Discovery: The constant pressure of homework limits opportunities for students to explore their interests and learn new skills independently.

The National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) recommend a “10 minutes of homework per grade level” standard, suggesting a more balanced approach. However, the reality often far exceeds this guideline, particularly for older students. The impact of this overreach is profound, affecting not just academic performance but also students’ attitudes toward school, their self-confidence, social skills, and overall quality of life.

Furthermore, the intense homework routine’s effectiveness is doubtful, as it can overwhelm students and detract from the joy of learning. Effective learning builds on prior knowledge in an engaging way, but excessive homework in a home setting may be irrelevant and uninteresting. The key challenge is balancing homework to enhance learning without overburdening students, allowing time for holistic growth and activities beyond academics. It’s crucial to reassess homework policies to support well-rounded development.

5. Challenges for Students with Learning Disabilities

Challenges for Students with Learning Disabilities

Homework, a standard educational tool, poses unique challenges for students with learning disabilities, often leading to a frustrating and disheartening experience. These challenges go beyond the typical struggles faced by most students and can significantly impede their educational progress and emotional well-being.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish’s insights in Psychology Today shed light on the complex relationship between homework and students with learning disabilities:

  • Homework as a Painful Endeavor: For students with learning disabilities, completing homework can be likened to “running with a sprained ankle.” It’s a task that, while doable, is fraught with difficulty and discomfort.
  • Misconceptions about Laziness: Often, children who struggle with homework are perceived as lazy. However, Barish emphasizes that these students are more likely to be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious rather than unmotivated.
  • Limited Improvement in School Performance: The battles over homework rarely translate into significant improvement in school for these children, challenging the conventional notion of homework as universally beneficial.

These points highlight the need for a tailored approach to homework for students with learning disabilities. It’s crucial to recognize that the traditional homework model may not be the most effective or appropriate method for facilitating their learning. Instead, alternative strategies that accommodate their unique needs and learning styles should be considered.

In conclusion, the conventional homework paradigm needs reevaluation, particularly concerning students with learning disabilities. By understanding and addressing their unique challenges, educators can create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment. This approach not only aids in their academic growth but also nurtures their confidence and overall development, ensuring that they receive an equitable and empathetic educational experience.

6. Critique of Underlying Assumptions about Learning

Critique of Underlying Assumptions about Learning

The longstanding belief in the educational sphere that more homework automatically translates to more learning is increasingly being challenged. Critics argue that this assumption is not only flawed but also unsupported by solid evidence, questioning the efficacy of homework as an effective learning tool.

Alfie Kohn , a prominent critic of homework, aptly compares students to vending machines in this context, suggesting that the expectation of inserting an assignment and automatically getting out of learning is misguided. Kohn goes further, labeling homework as the “greatest single extinguisher of children’s curiosity.” This critique highlights a fundamental issue: the potential of homework to stifle the natural inquisitiveness and love for learning in children.

The lack of concrete evidence supporting the effectiveness of homework is evident in various studies:

  • Marginal Effectiveness of Homework: A study involving 28,051 high school seniors found that the effectiveness of homework was marginal, and in some cases, it was counterproductive, leading to more academic problems than solutions.
  • No Correlation with Academic Achievement: Research in “ National Differences, Global Similarities ” showed no correlation between homework and academic achievement in elementary students, and any positive correlation in middle or high school diminished with increasing homework loads.
  • Increased Academic Pressure: The Teachers College Record published findings that homework adds to academic pressure and societal stress, exacerbating performance gaps between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

These findings bring to light several critical points:

  • Quality Over Quantity: According to a recent article in Monitor on Psychology , experts concur that the quality of homework assignments, along with the quality of instruction, student motivation, and inherent ability, is more crucial for academic success than the quantity of homework.
  • Counterproductive Nature of Excessive Homework: Excessive homework can lead to more academic challenges, particularly for students already facing pressures from other aspects of their lives.
  • Societal Stress and Performance Gaps: Homework can intensify societal stress and widen the academic performance divide.

The emerging consensus from these studies suggests that the traditional approach to homework needs rethinking. Rather than focusing on the quantity of assignments, educators should consider the quality and relevance of homework, ensuring it truly contributes to learning and development. This reassessment is crucial for fostering an educational environment that nurtures curiosity and a love for learning, rather than extinguishing it.

7. Issues with Homework Enforcement, Reliability, and Temptation to Cheat

Issues with Homework Enforcement, Reliability, and Temptation to Cheat

In the academic realm, the enforcement of homework is a subject of ongoing debate, primarily due to its implications on student integrity and the true value of assignments. The challenges associated with homework enforcement often lead to unintended yet significant issues, such as cheating, copying, and a general undermining of educational values.

Key points highlighting enforcement challenges:

  • Difficulty in Enforcing Completion: Ensuring that students complete their homework can be a complex task, and not completing homework does not always correlate with poor grades.
  • Reliability of Homework Practice: The reliability of homework as a practice tool is undermined when students, either out of desperation or lack of understanding, choose shortcuts over genuine learning. This approach can lead to the opposite of the intended effect, especially when assignments are not well-aligned with the students’ learning levels or interests.
  • Temptation to Cheat: The issue of cheating is particularly troubling. According to a report by The Chronicle of Higher Education , under the pressure of at-home assignments, many students turn to copying others’ work, plagiarizing, or using creative technological “hacks.” This tendency not only questions the integrity of the learning process but also reflects the extreme stress that homework can induce.
  • Parental Involvement in Completion: As noted in The American Journal of Family Therapy , this raises concerns about the authenticity of the work submitted. When parents complete assignments for their children, it not only deprives the students of the opportunity to learn but also distorts the purpose of homework as a learning aid.

In conclusion, the challenges of homework enforcement present a complex problem that requires careful consideration. The focus should shift towards creating meaningful, manageable, and quality-driven assignments that encourage genuine learning and integrity, rather than overwhelming students and prompting counterproductive behaviors.

Addressing Opposing Views on Homework Practices

While opinions on homework policies are diverse, understanding different viewpoints is crucial. In the following sections, we will examine common arguments supporting homework assignments, along with counterarguments that offer alternative perspectives on this educational practice.

1. Improvement of Academic Performance

Improvement of Academic Performance

Homework is commonly perceived as a means to enhance academic performance, with the belief that it directly contributes to better grades and test scores. This view posits that through homework, students reinforce what they learn in class, leading to improved understanding and retention, which ultimately translates into higher academic achievement.

However, the question of why students should not have homework becomes pertinent when considering the complex relationship between homework and academic performance. Studies have indicated that excessive homework doesn’t necessarily equate to higher grades or test scores. Instead, too much homework can backfire, leading to stress and fatigue that adversely affect a student’s performance. Reuters highlights an intriguing correlation suggesting that physical activity may be more conducive to academic success than additional homework, underscoring the importance of a holistic approach to education that prioritizes both physical and mental well-being for enhanced academic outcomes.

2. Reinforcement of Learning

Reinforcement of Learning

Homework is traditionally viewed as a tool to reinforce classroom learning, enabling students to practice and retain material. However, research suggests its effectiveness is ambiguous. In instances where homework is well-aligned with students’ abilities and classroom teachings, it can indeed be beneficial. Particularly for younger students , excessive homework can cause burnout and a loss of interest in learning, counteracting its intended purpose.

Furthermore, when homework surpasses a student’s capability, it may induce frustration and confusion rather than aid in learning. This challenges the notion that more homework invariably leads to better understanding and retention of educational content.

3. Development of Time Management Skills

Development of Time Management Skills

Homework is often considered a crucial tool in helping students develop important life skills such as time management and organization. The idea is that by regularly completing assignments, students learn to allocate their time efficiently and organize their tasks effectively, skills that are invaluable in both academic and personal life.

However, the impact of homework on developing these skills is not always positive. For younger students, especially, an overwhelming amount of homework can be more of a hindrance than a help. Instead of fostering time management and organizational skills, an excessive workload often leads to stress and anxiety . These negative effects can impede the learning process and make it difficult for students to manage their time and tasks effectively, contradicting the original purpose of homework.

4. Preparation for Future Academic Challenges

Preparation for Future Academic Challenges

Homework is often touted as a preparatory tool for future academic challenges that students will encounter in higher education and their professional lives. The argument is that by tackling homework, students build a foundation of knowledge and skills necessary for success in more advanced studies and in the workforce, fostering a sense of readiness and confidence.

Contrarily, an excessive homework load, especially from a young age, can have the opposite effect . It can instill a negative attitude towards education, dampening students’ enthusiasm and willingness to embrace future academic challenges. Overburdening students with homework risks disengagement and loss of interest, thereby defeating the purpose of preparing them for future challenges. Striking a balance in the amount and complexity of homework is crucial to maintaining student engagement and fostering a positive attitude towards ongoing learning.

5. Parental Involvement in Education

Parental Involvement in Education

Homework often acts as a vital link connecting parents to their child’s educational journey, offering insights into the school’s curriculum and their child’s learning process. This involvement is key in fostering a supportive home environment and encouraging a collaborative relationship between parents and the school. When parents understand and engage with what their children are learning, it can significantly enhance the educational experience for the child.

However, the line between involvement and over-involvement is thin. When parents excessively intervene by completing their child’s homework,  it can have adverse effects . Such actions not only diminish the educational value of homework but also rob children of the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and independence. This over-involvement, coupled with disparities in parental ability to assist due to variations in time, knowledge, or resources, may lead to unequal educational outcomes, underlining the importance of a balanced approach to parental participation in homework.

Exploring Alternatives to Homework and Finding a Middle Ground

Exploring Alternatives to Homework

In the ongoing debate about the role of homework in education, it’s essential to consider viable alternatives and strategies to minimize its burden. While completely eliminating homework may not be feasible for all educators, there are several effective methods to reduce its impact and offer more engaging, student-friendly approaches to learning.

Alternatives to Traditional Homework

  • Project-Based Learning: This method focuses on hands-on, long-term projects where students explore real-world problems. It encourages creativity, critical thinking, and collaborative skills, offering a more engaging and practical learning experience than traditional homework. For creative ideas on school projects, especially related to the solar system, be sure to explore our dedicated article on solar system projects .
  • Flipped Classrooms: Here, students are introduced to new content through videos or reading materials at home and then use class time for interactive activities. This approach allows for more personalized and active learning during school hours.
  • Reading for Pleasure: Encouraging students to read books of their choice can foster a love for reading and improve literacy skills without the pressure of traditional homework assignments. This approach is exemplified by Marion County, Florida , where public schools implemented a no-homework policy for elementary students. Instead, they are encouraged to read nightly for 20 minutes . Superintendent Heidi Maier’s decision was influenced by research showing that while homework offers minimal benefit to young students, regular reading significantly boosts their learning. For book recommendations tailored to middle school students, take a look at our specially curated article .

Ideas for Minimizing Homework

  • Limiting Homework Quantity: Adhering to guidelines like the “ 10-minute rule ” (10 minutes of homework per grade level per night) can help ensure that homework does not become overwhelming.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on assigning meaningful homework that is directly relevant to what is being taught in class, ensuring it adds value to students’ learning.
  • Homework Menus: Offering students a choice of assignments can cater to diverse learning styles and interests, making homework more engaging and personalized.
  • Integrating Technology: Utilizing educational apps and online platforms can make homework more interactive and enjoyable, while also providing immediate feedback to students. To gain deeper insights into the role of technology in learning environments, explore our articles discussing the benefits of incorporating technology in classrooms and a comprehensive list of educational VR apps . These resources will provide you with valuable information on how technology can enhance the educational experience.

For teachers who are not ready to fully eliminate homework, these strategies offer a compromise, ensuring that homework supports rather than hinders student learning. By focusing on quality, relevance, and student engagement, educators can transform homework from a chore into a meaningful component of education that genuinely contributes to students’ academic growth and personal development. In this way, we can move towards a more balanced and student-centric approach to learning, both in and out of the classroom.

Useful Resources

  • Is homework a good idea or not? by BBC
  • The Great Homework Debate: What’s Getting Lost in the Hype
  • Alternative Homework Ideas

The evidence and arguments presented in the discussion of why students should not have homework call for a significant shift in homework practices. It’s time for educators and policymakers to rethink and reformulate homework strategies, focusing on enhancing the quality, relevance, and balance of assignments. By doing so, we can create a more equitable, effective, and student-friendly educational environment that fosters learning, well-being, and holistic development.

  • “Here’s what an education expert says about that viral ‘no-homework’ policy”, Insider
  • “John Hattie on BBC Radio 4: Homework in primary school has an effect of zero”, Visible Learning
  • HowtoLearn.com
  • “Time Spent On Homework Statistics [Fresh Research]”, Gitnux
  • “Stress in America”, American Psychological Association (APA)
  • “Homework hurts high-achieving students, study says”, The Washington Post
  • “National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: final report”, National Library of Medicine
  • “A multi-method exploratory study of stress, coping, and substance use among high school youth in private schools”, Frontiers
  • “The Digital Revolution is Leaving Poorer Kids Behind”, Statista
  • “The digital divide has left millions of school kids behind”, CNET
  • “The Digital Divide: What It Is, and What’s Being Done to Close It”, Investopedia
  • “COVID-19 exposed the digital divide. Here’s how we can close it”, World Economic Forum
  • “PBS NewsHour: Biggest Predictor of College Success is Family Income”, America’s Promise Alliance
  • “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background”, Taylor & Francis Online
  • “What Do You Mean My Kid Doesn’t Have Homework?”, EducationWeek
  • “Excerpt From The Case Against Homework”, Penguin Random House Canada
  • “How much homework is too much?”, neaToday
  • “The Nation’s Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading”, National Center for Education Statistics
  • “Battles Over Homework: Advice For Parents”, Psychology Today
  • “How Homework Is Destroying Teens’ Health”, The Lion’s Roar
  • “ Breaking the Homework Habit”, Education World
  • “Testing a model of school learning: Direct and indirect effects on academic achievement”, ScienceDirect
  • “National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling”, Stanford University Press
  • “When school goes home: Some problems in the organization of homework”, APA PsycNet
  • “Is homework a necessary evil?”, APA PsycNet
  • “Epidemic of copying homework catalyzed by technology”, Redwood Bark
  • “High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame”, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background”, ResearchGate
  • “Kids who get moving may also get better grades”, Reuters
  • “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987–2003”, SageJournals
  • “Is it time to get rid of homework?”, USAToday
  • “Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework”, Stanford
  • “Florida school district bans homework, replaces it with daily reading”, USAToday
  • “Encouraging Students to Read: Tips for High School Teachers”, wgu.edu
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20 Pros and Cons of Homework

Homework. It’s a word that sends a shudder down the spine of students and parents alike.

It is also a question that has become divisive. Some people feel that homework is an effective way to reinforce the concepts that were learned at school. Others feel like the time that homework demands would be better spent with a meaningful activity that brings the family together.

Is homework important? Is it necessary? Or is the added stress that homework places on students and parents doing more harm than good? Here are some of the key pros and cons to discuss.

List of the Pros of Homework

1. It encourages the discipline of practice. Repeating the same problems over and over can be boring and difficult, but it also reinforces the practice of discipline. To get better at a skill, repetition is often necessary. You get better with each repetition. By having homework completed every night, especially with a difficult subject, the concepts become easier to understand. That gives the student an advantage later on in life when seeking a vocational career.

2. It gets parents involved with a child’s life. Looking at Common Core math can be somewhat bewildering to parents. If you see the math problem 5×3 expressed as an addition problem, 5+5+5 seems like the right answer. The correct answer, however, would be 3+3+3+3+3. By bringing homework to do, students can engage their learning process with their parents so everyone can be involved. Many parents actually want homework sent so they can see what their children are being taught in the classroom.

3. It teaches time management skills. Homework goes beyond completing a task. It forces children (and parents, to some extent) to develop time management skills. Schedules must be organized to ensure that all tasks can be completed during the day. This creates independent thinking and develops problem-solving skills. It encourages research skills. It also puts parents and children into a position where positive decision-making skills must be developed.

4. Homework creates a communication network. Teachers rarely see into the family lives of their students. Parents rarely see the classroom lives of their children. Homework is a bridge that opens lines of communication between the school, the teacher, and the parent. This allows everyone to get to know one another better. It helps teachers understand the needs of their students better.

It allows parents to find out their child’s strengths and weaknesses. Together, an educational plan can be developed that encourages the best possible learning environment.

5. It allows for a comfortable place to study. Classrooms have evolved over the years to be a warmer and welcoming environment, but there is nothing like the comfort that is felt at home or in a safe space. By encouraging studies where a child feels the most comfortable, it is possible to retain additional information that may get lost within the standard classroom environment.

6. It provides more time to complete the learning process. The time allotted for each area of study in school, especially in K-12, is often limited to 1 hour or less per day. That is not always enough time for students to be able to grasp core concepts of that material. By creating specific homework assignments which address these deficiencies, it becomes possible to counter the effects of the time shortages. That can benefit students greatly over time.

7. It reduces screen time. On the average school night, a student in the US might get 3-4 hours of screen time in per day. When that student isn’t in school, that figure doubles to 7-8 hours of screen time. Homework might be unwanted and disliked, but it does encourage better study habits. It discourages time being spent in front of the television or playing games on a mobile device. That, in turn, may discourage distracting habits from forming that can take away from the learning process in the future.

8. It can be treated like any other extracurricular activity. Some families over-extend themselves on extracurricular activities. Students can easily have more than 40 hours per week, from clubs to sports, that fall outside of regular school hours. Homework can be treated as one of these activities, fitting into the schedule where there is extra time. As an added benefit, some homework can even be completed on the way to or from some activities.

List of the Cons of Homework

1. Children benefit from playing. Being in a classroom can be a good thing, but so can being on a playground. With too much homework, a child doesn’t have enough time to play and that can impact their learning and social development. Low levels of play are associated with lower academic achievement levels, lower safety awareness, less character development, and lower overall health.

2. It encourages a sedentary lifestyle. Long homework assignments require long periods of sitting. A sedentary lifestyle has numerous direct associations with premature death as children age into adults. Obesity levels are already at or near record highs in many communities. Homework may reinforce certain skills and encourage knowledge retention, but it may come at a high price.

3. Not every home is a beneficial environment. There are some homes that are highly invested into their children. Parents may be involved in every stage of homework or there may be access to tutors that can explain difficult concepts. In other homes, there may be little or no education investment into the child. Some parents push the responsibility of teaching off on the teacher and provide no homework support at all.

Sometimes parents may wish to be involved and support their child, but there are barriers in place that prevent this from happening. The bottom line is this: no every home life is equal.

4. School is already a full-time job for kids. An elementary school day might start at 9:00am and end at 3:20pm. That’s more than 6 hours of work that kids as young as 5 are putting into their education every day. Add in the extra-curricular activities that schools encourage, such as sports, musicals, and after-school programming and a student can easily reach 8 hours of education in the average day. Then add homework on top of that? It is asking a lot for any child, but especially young children, to complete extra homework.

5. There is no evidence that homework creates improvements. Survey after survey has found that the only thing that homework does is create a negative attitude toward schooling and education in general. Homework is not associated with a higher level of academic achievement on a national scale. It may help some students who struggle with certain subjects, if they have access to a knowledgeable tutor or parent, but on a community level, there is no evidence that shows improvements are gained.

6. It discourages creative endeavors. If a student is spending 1 hour each day on homework, that’s an hour they are not spending pursuing something that is important to them. Students might like to play video games or watch TV, but homework takes time away from learning an instrument, painting, or developing photography skills as well. Although some homework can involve creative skills, that usually isn’t the case.

7. Homework is difficult to enforce. Some students just don’t care about homework. They can achieve adequate grades without doing it, so they choose not to do it. There is no level of motivation that a parent or teacher can create that inspires some students to get involved with homework. There is no denying the fact that homework requires a certain amount of effort. Sometimes a child just doesn’t want to put in that effort.

8. Extra time in school does not equate to better grades. Students in the US spend more than 100 hours of extra time in school already compared to high-performing countries around the world, but that has not closed the educational gap between those countries and the United States. In some educational areas, the US is even falling in global rankings despite the extra time that students are spending in school. When it comes to homework or any other form of learning, quality is much more important than quantity.

9. Accurate practice may not be possible. If homework is assigned, there is a reliance on the student, their parents, or their guardians to locate resources that can help them understand the content. Homework is often about practice, but if the core concepts of that information are not understood or inaccurately understood, then the results are the opposite of what is intended. If inaccurate practice is performed, it becomes necessary for the teacher to first correct the issue and then reteach it, which prolongs the learning process.

10. It may encourage cheating on multiple levels. Some students may decide that cheating in the classroom to avoid taking homework home is a compromise they’re willing to make. With internet resources, finding the answers to homework instead of figuring out the answers on one’s own is a constant temptation as well. For families with multiple children, they may decide to copy off one another to minimize the time investment.

11. Too much homework is often assigned to students. There is a general agreement that students should be assigned no more than 10 minutes of homework per day, per grade level. That means a first grader should not be assigned more than 10 minutes of homework per night. Yet for the average first grader in US public schools, they come home with 20 minutes of homework and then are asked to complete 20 minutes of reading on top of that. That means some students are completing 4x more homework than recommended every night.

At the same time, the amount of time children spent playing outdoors has decreased by 40% over the past 30 years.

For high school students, it is even worse at high performing schools in the US where 90% of graduates go onto college, the average amount of homework assigned per night was 3 hours per student.

12. Homework is often geared toward benchmarks. Homework is often assigned to improve test scores. Although this can provide positive outcomes, including better study skills or habits, the fact is that when children are tired, they do not absorb much information. When children have more homework than recommended, test scores actually go down. Stress levels go up. Burnout on the curriculum occurs.

The results for many students, according to research from Ruben Fernandez-Alonso in the Journal of Educational Psychology, is a decrease in grades instead of an increase.

The pros and cons of homework are admittedly all over the map. Many parents and teachers follow their personal perspectives and create learning environments around them. When parents and teachers clash on homework, the student is often left in the middle of that tug of war. By discussing these key points, each side can work to find some common ground so our children can benefit for a clear, precise message.

Quantity may be important, but quality must be the priority for homework if a student is going to be successful.

Law Stuff Explained

Is Homework Illegal? (Arguments In Support and Against)

Homework is not illegal in the United States.

But from a legal standpoint, it is a really fun argument to make!

In this article, we’ll cover some points that you could use for or against the question of the legality of homework, whether you are the student, parent, or teacher in this debate.

Is Homework Illegal? (FOR and AGAINST)

The contents of this web page are for informational purposes only, and nothing you read is intended to be legal advice. Please review our  disclaimer about law/legal-related information on this website  before taking action based upon anything you read or see.

Legal vs Illegal vs Unconstitutional

To make the argument that something (like homework) is illegal, there needs to be a law or statute or case precedent or SOMETHING that is the basis for the alleged illegality.

People have argued that homework is illegal because it counts as a form of “slavery.”

And since “slavery” was abolished by an amendment to the constitution, it is therefore “illegal.”

This argument fails.

It is illegal to restrict/control with force the movement/life of other individuals if you do not have authority to do so (as parents do with their minor children).

It is illegal to commit the other acts slavery is well known for (assault, harassment, and more).

And the individual statutes (state and federal) addressing those specific acts are the basis for the conclusion that something is “illegal” and “legal.”

Not everything that would be unconstitutional (or goes against the stated words in the constitution) would be considered illegal, and vice versa.

Instead, if you were going to make the argument that homework was illegal, you’d be better off consulting the various statutes that make certain conduct illegal.

For example:

Let’s accept that homework is an act, and that the victims do not want to commit or engage in this act, and the victims (students) only do the act because of the threat of some other result (punishments, consequences, etc).

Perhaps then you could argue that forcing kids to do homework is an illegal act, assuming that the threats of consequences are coming from an individual or entity that does not have legal authority to provide the threatened punishments, or those punishments are themselves illegal.

Sounds a lot like the crime of coercion , doesn’t it?

If you want to argue that homework is illegal, look for a statute like coercion to support your argument.

And if you want to use the 13th amendment in support of your case against homework, argue that homework is “unconstitutional” rather than “illegal.”

But if you want to argue more about the constitution, you could argue that homework infringes the rights contained in the 14th amendment to the constitution which present the state from depriving any person life, liberty , or property.

Children under the age of 18 surely qualify as “any person.” And they have a right to “liberty” which homework surely infringes.

Consent As The School’s Defense

One of the arguments that homework is illegal or constitutes slavery is that the children do not want to do the homework.

They are being made to do it.

They did not agree to do the homework.

But here’s the thing.

People under the age of 18 in the United States cannot make most decisions for themselves.

While the children may be in school against their will, and the homework is against their will, their parents or legal guardians have consented.

The parents have agreed on the children’s behalf to the homework.

Thus, technically, because the parents have voluntarily sent their children to the school, the parents have voluntarily consented to the homework, and the consequences of not doing the homework.

The child might not consent to the homework, but in the end, the parents have given their agreement.

The parents take the children to the school.

No one is pointing weapons at them to make them.

The parents sign their names to forms.

No weapons there either.

And since a crime like coercion requires that the act (the homework) be an act against the will or interest of the victim, a case cannot succeed because the will of the parents is substituted for the will of the child.

Arguing That Parents Did Not Consent

We just talked about how a debater could argue that homework is not illegal or against the will of the child because the parent’s will is substituted for the child’s will.

But what is the consent of the parent was not voluntary?

What if the parent was coerced to send their child to school, or to the homework?

What is sending their kids to school (and to do homework) was involuntary?

In most states, there are laws covering the attendance of children at school.

Absent an exclusion or a valid reason to opt out (like homeschool), a parent could face criminal prosecution if he/she does not send a child to school.

Think of what it means to make a voluntary decision.

It involves a lot of free will, and no pressure or undue influence.

If the school were to argue that the parents consented for the children to school (and then the homework), the argument against the consent is that the parents cannot voluntarily consent to the homework.

Parents are under the threat of fines and jail time.

Their consent is being obtained essentially by force.

A weapon of a different kind.

After all, a parent who goes to jail might lose his job, his driver’s license, or maybe even custody of his children.

A parent who goes to jail might lose his right to vote, or his position/status in society.

A person cannot consent at the business end of a weapon.

State Laws Do Not Compel Homework, Just Attendance

Another fun wrinkle in this argument, especially as we get down into whether parents have consented or can consent to homework, is whether the applicable laws have any impact on homework.

A student is not lawfully required to do homework.

If you look at the laws about education, there are laws about parents sending their kids to school.

There are laws about kids actually going to school.

But are there any laws that require children to complete the homework.

Like really?

I mean, doing homework is important to getting a good grade.

But aside from showing up at school (and not hurting or disrupting others), can schools actually make children do homework?

Schools can implement consequences for failing to turn in homework.

But they can’t physically punish a child (like hitting him, in most cases), or prevent him from eating or drinking while at school.

And once the child is at home with his homework, he is subject to the will of his parents or legal guardians.

Browse our  free legal library guides  for more information.

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is homework illegal

Blog The Education Hub

https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2024/02/19/mobile-phones-in-schools-are-they-being-banned/

Mobile phones in schools: are they being banned?

mobile phone ban

By the age of 12, 97% of children own a mobile phone, but the use of mobile phones in school can lead to distractions, disruption and can increase the risk of online bullying.  

Many schools have already introduced rules which prohibit the use of phones at school, to help children focus on their education, and the friends and staff around them.   

We’re introducing guidance which encourages all schools to follow this approach, so that more pupils can benefit from the advantages of a phone-free environment. Here’s everything you need to know.  

Are you banning mobile phones in schools?  

The new guidance says that schools should prohibit the use of mobile phones, but they will have autonomy on how to do this.  

Some may allow phones to be brought onto the premises but not to be used during school hours, including at breaktime.  

This brings England in line with other countries who have put in place similar rules, including France, Italy and Portugal.  

Will this apply to all pupils?   

The guidance sets out that there will be some limited cases where pupils should be exempt from the rule.  

While the majority of pupils won’t be allowed to use their mobile phones during the school day, we know that some children need their mobile phones for medical reasons, or because they have special educational needs and/or disabilities.   

How will prohibiting mobile phones work in schools?  

Schools will be able to choose an approach to prohibiting mobile phones which suits them.  

This could include banning phones from the school premises, handing in phones on arrival at school, or keeping phones locked away.   

What else are you doing to improve school behaviour?  

We’re investing £10 million in Behaviour Hubs across the country, supporting up to 700 schools to improve behaviour over three years.  

Behaviour Hubs help schools that have exemplary positive behaviour cultures to work closely with other schools that want to turn around their behaviour, alongside providing access to central support and a taskforce of advisers.  

You may also be interested in:

  • 5 ways we support schools to deal with bullying
  • How to improve your child’s school attendance and where to get support
  • The Advanced British Standard: Everything you need to know

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Supreme Court to hear arguments on online content moderation

The Supreme Court has recently shied away from broad rulings on the free speech rights of online platforms, including in decisions in two cases last year where they sided with Google and Twitter when the two were sued for damages over terror attacks abroad.

In the cases now before the court, Texas and Florida have pushed for a broad ruling, arguing that social media companies should be regarded as common carriers, like telephone companies or delivery services, with fewer free speech rights and open for more regulation.

Texas pointed to Section 230 itself as evidence for common-carrier status, calling it “an effort by Congress to recognize that entities like the Platforms are not speakers but conduits for their users’ speech,” in court papers.

The Biden administration, which weighed in only after the justices requested it do to so last year, argued against considering social media companies as common carriers. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in court papers that Section 230 was irrelevant to the fact that social media companies have their own free speech rights.

“The First Amendment’s coverage does not depend on Congress’s choices about damages liability. Instead, what matters is whether platforms are engaged in expressive activity,” Prelogar wrote.

Devon Ombres, the senior director for courts and legal policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said that upholding the Texas and Florida law could cause a balkanization of the internet, with “piecemeal, patchwork laws” across the country, mandating different rules state by state.

“Allowing this to go into effect would not only limit the censorship of politically unpopular positions, it would prohibit the censorship of anything. It would allow you know, white nationalist Nazis to be posting everywhere and social media companies would not be able to take it down,” Ombres said.

Meanwhile Calvert said a broad ruling granting First Amendment rights of online platforms could impact the toolkit of state legislatures and Congress to regulate online platforms, including policing harm to minors, restricting the sale of illicit drugs and other issues.

“If you do afford First Amendment rights and social media platforms, editorial control discretion, is therefore going to limit the different ways and mechanisms in which other governmental entities state, local or federal could try to regulate social media platforms,” Calvert said.

A group of states led by New York raised those issues in their own amicus brief in the cases, which ask the justices to limit the scope of their decision, however the case comes out.

Congress aside

It could also endanger nascent congressional efforts to regulate social media companies. Earlier this month a bipartisan majority of senators announced a new version of a bill on a narrower issue – making platforms more responsible for minors’ safety while online. The bill is backed by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who have said at least 60 senators support it, which signals the chamber could overcome an attempt to block the bill.

Depending on how the court rules, efforts to police social media companies like that could run afoul of the Constitution, Calvert said.

At least one justice has said he wants to address the free speech issues surrounding social media platforms. In a 2021 case about former President Donald Trump blocking critics on Twitter, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the court should reckon with the power social media platforms have over the nation’s discourse.

“We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms,” Thomas said.

There are several routes for the court to decide the issue in a more limited way, including one offered by Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and others in briefs to the court.

Luján pointed out that the existence of Section 230 makes internet content moderation a federal issue for Congress and social media companies to hash out.

“Either way, the Constitution requires that decision be left to the private companies running these platforms or federal law — not to the States,” Lujan wrote.

Congressional inaction

Industry groups sued to block the Texas and Florida laws in 2021. Federal appeals courts reached opposite conclusions, upholding the Texas law and blocking the Florida law.

The challengers to the laws, NetChoice LLC and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, argued the laws violate their free speech rights for the same reason: the government cannot compel speech.

Netchoice said content moderation decisions include removing posts or having an algorithm deprioritize them, so the notification and appeals process would involve cataloging billions of decisions.

“This reality suggests that these provisions are not designed to prevent consumer deception, but rather to chill the exercise of editorial discretion by State-disfavored websites and force them to disseminate speech against their will — as the Legislature expressly intended,” Netchoice wrote.

Republicans have criticized social media companies for attempting to have their cake and eat it too with their liability protections. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said as much in a brief in the case, arguing that social media companies should not both be immune from civil liability in Section 230 and from government regulation.

“Congress never intended to extend absolute immunity to tech platforms for whatever speech-related actions they might take. And yet this is the result that, in principle, the platforms now seek,” Hawley wrote.

Members on both sides of the aisle have said they intend to change the law, including when dressing down social media executives at high-profile hearings, such as one last month. However, most efforts to change the law more broadly have broken down along partisan lines.

Ombres said that there has not been much in the way of bipartisan agreement about how to handle internet content moderation more broadly.

He said a blunt repeal of the immunity could make websites shy away from any kind of moderation, turning the internet into “8chan,” a site notorious for extreme content.

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Court releases april argument calendar.

artist's sketch of a panoramic view showing Supreme Court building on left, a colorful tree in the center of the image, and the Capitol building in the distance on the right

The 2023-24 term at the Supreme Court will close out regularly scheduled oral arguments with three high-profile disputes over the interpretation of the federal criminal law that is at the center of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of former President Donald Trump, the constitutionality of an Oregon city’s law regulating camping on public property, and an Idaho law that criminalizes abortion. The court on Friday released its calendar for its April 2024 argument session , which will feature nine hours of arguments over six days, beginning on April 15 and concluding on April 24.

The justices will hear arguments on April 16 in Fischer v. United States , the case of a man who says he was only briefly inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but was charged with (among other things) obstruction of a congressional proceeding – one of the same charges brought by Smith against Trump last year.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols dismissed the obstruction charge against Joseph Fischer, reasoning that the law, which was enacted in the wake of the Enron collapse, was only intended to apply to evidence tampering that obstructs an official proceeding. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reinstated the charge against Fischer, whose petition for Supreme Court review was granted earlier this year.

The justices will hear arguments on April 22 in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson , a case challenging the constitutionality of the city’s enforcement of its ban on public camping against homeless people who do not have access to shelter elsewhere. After two lower courts blocked the city from enforcing the ban, the Grants Pass asked the Supreme Court to intervene. It argues that rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit have created a “judicial roadblock preventing a comprehensive response to the growth of public encampments in the West.” But the challengers, three individuals who are involuntarily homeless, counter that the rulings simply follow the Supreme Court’s decision holding that the Eighth Amendment bars the city from punishing people for their involuntary status – here, being homeless.

And on April 24, the justices will close out their April calendar with arguments in a pair of consolidated cases, Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States , involving the interaction between a federal law that requires hospitals receiving Medicare funding to offer “necessary stabilizing treatment” to pregnant women in emergencies and an Idaho law that makes it a crime to provide an abortion except in a handful of narrow circumstances, including to save the life of the mother.

The Biden administration went to federal court in Idaho in the wake of the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization , arguing that the federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, trumps Idaho’s restrictions on abortion. A federal judge agreed and barred the state from enforcing its law to the extent that it conflicts with EMTALA, but in early January the Supreme Court put the judge’s ruling on hold and agreed to weigh in.

Here is the full schedule

Snyder v. United States (April 15) – Whether federal bribery laws make it a crime to accept payment for something a government official has already done, without any prior agreement to take those actions in exchange for payment.

Chiaverini v. City of Napoleon (April 15) – Whether a claim for malicious prosecution can proceed for a baseless criminal charge, even if there was probable cause for prosecutors to bring other criminal charges.

Fischer v. United States (April 16) – Whether a federal law that makes it a crime to “corruptly” obstruct congressional inquiries and investigations can be used to prosecute participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol

Thornell v. Jones (April 17) – Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit misapplied the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Strickland v. Washington , which sets out the test to determine whether a lawyer’s performance was so inadequate that it violated the Constitution, in the case of death row inmate Danny Lee Jones.

City of Grants Pass v. Johnson (April 22) – Whether a city’s enforcement of laws regulating camping on public property against homeless people when they do not have access to shelter elsewhere violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Smith v. Spizzirri (April 22) – Whether Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act, which provides that when a court finds that a dispute should be arbitrated it “shall,” if requested by one of the parties, put the trial in the case on hold until the arbitration has finished, requires district courts to put the trial on hold or instead gives them the option to dismiss the case if all of the claims in it are subject to arbitration.

Department of State v. Munoz (April 23) – Whether the denial of a visa to the non-citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen infringes on a constitutionally protected interest of the citizen and, if so, whether the government properly justified that decision.

Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney (April 23) – Whether, when evaluating requests from the National Labor Relations Board for injunctions under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives federal district courts that power to grant preliminary injunctive relief as they deem “just and proper,” courts should apply the traditional, stringent four-factor test or a more lenient standard.

Moyle v. United States  (consolidated with  Idaho v. United States ) (April 24) – Whether Idaho’s law restricting doctors from providing abortions in most cases is superseded by a federal law that requires hospitals receiving Medicare funding to offer “necessary stabilizing treatment” to pregnant women in emergencies.

This article was originally published at Howe on the Court .

Posted in Merits Cases

Cases: Thornell v. Jones , Chiaverini v. City of Napoleon, Ohio , Snyder v. United States , City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson , Fischer v. United States , Department of State v. Muñoz , Moyle v. United States , Idaho v. United States , Smith v. Spizzirri , Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Court releases April argument calendar , SCOTUSblog (Feb. 21, 2024, 9:09 AM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2024/02/court-releases-april-argument-calendar-2/

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Chief justice’s Christian reasoning in IVF opinion sparks alarm over church-state separation

The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. This is raising concerns about how the decision could affect in vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF.

FILE - Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker speaks on the steps of the state judicial building on April 5, 2006, in Montgomery, Ala. When the court ruled that frozen embryos are children, its Chief Justice Parker made explicit use of Christian theology to justify the court's decision in his concurrence, where his language echoed the broader anti-abortion movement. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin, File)

FILE - Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker speaks on the steps of the state judicial building on April 5, 2006, in Montgomery, Ala. When the court ruled that frozen embryos are children, its Chief Justice Parker made explicit use of Christian theology to justify the court’s decision in his concurrence, where his language echoed the broader anti-abortion movement. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin, File)

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The exterior of the Alabama Supreme Court building in Montgomery, Ala., is shown Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law, a ruling critics said could have sweeping implications for fertility treatments. The decision was issued in a pair of wrongful death cases brought by three couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

FILE - Tom Parker, left, listens as former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, right, addresses the crowd at the Davis Theater in Montgomery, Ala. on Jan. 14, 2005, before swearing in Parker as an associate justice of the court. When the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children, its Chief Justice Tom Parker made explicit use of Christian theology to justify the court’s decision in his concurrence, where his language echoed the broader anti-abortion movement. Parker is no stranger to church-state debates. He served as former Chief Justice Moore’s spokesperson during fights over a Ten Commandments monument that Moore erected in the Alabama Supreme Court building. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 photo, containers holding frozen embryos and sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen at a fertility clinic in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

When the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are considered children under state law, its chief justice had a higher authority in mind.

By citing verses from the Bible and Christian theologians in his concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker alarmed advocates for church-state separation, while delighting religious conservatives who oppose abortion.

Human life, Parker wrote, “cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.”

The Alabama court’s ruling last week stemmed from wrongful death lawsuits brought by couples whose frozen embryos were accidentally destroyed.

The exterior of the Alabama Supreme Court building in Montgomery, Ala., is shown Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law, a ruling critics said could have sweeping implications for fertility treatments. The decision was issued in a pair of wrongful death cases brought by three couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

The most immediate impact of the ruling was to leave in vitro fertilization clinics in Alabama potentially vulnerable to more lawsuits and reluctant to administer treatment. But not far behind were mounting worries about Parker’s explicit references to Christian theology.

While Parker’s concurring opinion does not carry the force of precedent, advocates for church-state separation fear he could inspire judges in other states to push the envelope.

“Now we’re in a place where government officials feel emboldened to say the quiet part out loud, and directly challenge the separation of church and state, a foundational part of our democracy,” said Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

She said Parker’s opinion was just the latest example – and a brazen one at that – of government officials advocating for Christian nationalism , a movement that seeks to privilege Christianity and fuse Christian and American identity.

Other instances she cited include Missouri lawmakers citing Catholic and biblical teachings for restricting abortion and U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson saying the notion of church-state separation in the U.S. was a “misnomer.”

Parker argued in his opinion that the court was merely enforcing the Alabama state constitution, which was amended in 2018 to recognize “the sanctity of unborn life.” That principle has “deep roots that reach back to the creation of man ‘in the image of God,’” Parker said, quoting the Book of Genesis.

Parker sprinkled his opinion with a litany of religious sources, from classic Christian theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, to a modern conservative Christian manifesto, the Manhattan Declaration, that opposes “anti-life” measures.

He also quoted a Bible verse that is legendary within the anti-abortion movement, in which God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 photo, containers holding frozen embryos and sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen at a fertility clinic in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

THE ROOTS OF A RULING

The Alabama court’s ruling that frozen embryos are children is an extension of the ideology that undergirds the anti-abortion movement, said Mary Ziegler, a historian of the abortion debate and a law professor at the University of California, Davis.

And it points to the influence of the conservative Christian legal movement, she said. Namely, its position “that the U.S. has an intrinsically Christian Constitution” — a notion that Ziegler and many historians reject .

“The point, I think, for the movement was never just getting rid of Roe,” Ziegler said. “It was always to achieve fetal personhood,” the idea that human rights are conferred at conception.

The Alabama ruling could influence decisions in other state courts and legislatures, particularly in the 11 states that already have fetal personhood language in their laws, Ziegler said. But because it’s about the interpretation of a state law, she said the case is unlikely to make its way to the Supreme Court.

‘VICTORY FOR LIFE’

Some anti-abortion activists rejoiced at the ruling.

It’s “a tremendous victory for life,” said the powerful Christian legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom. “A beautiful defense of life,” said Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council.

The Liberty Counsel filed a notice with the Florida Supreme Court, saying the Alabama decision — including Parker’s concurrence — should be factored into a pending decision about a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would protect abortion rights.

“Unborn life must be protected at every stage,” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s chairman, said in a statement.

Still, Christian perspectives on IVF are mixed, and in some cases, undecided.

While the Catholic Church condemns such reproductive technology as immoral, many Protestant churches and denominations do not have a firm stance against the practice.

Kellyanne Conway, the political consultant who worked for former President Donald Trump, lobbied GOP lawmakers in December to advocate for contraception and fertility treatments. She cited her firm’s finding that even anti-abortion evangelicals overwhelmingly support access to IVF.

FILE - Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker speaks on the steps of the state judicial building on April 5, 2006, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin, File)

FILE - Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker speaks on the steps of the state judicial building on April 5, 2006, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin, File)

On Friday, Trump shared his strong support for IVF in a post on his Truth Social network and called on Alabama lawmakers to protect access to the procedure.

JUSTICE PARKER’S MISSION

Parker is no stranger to church-state debates.

He served as former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s spokesperson during fights over a Ten Commandments monument Moore erected inside the building housing the Supreme Court.

Parker is a member of Frazer Church, a Montgomery megachurch that until 2022 was part of the United Methodist Church. The congregation, which left amid a UMC schism over the denomination not upholding its LGBTQ clergy and marriage bans, is now part of the Free Methodist Church, a more conservative denomination.

Neither United Methodists nor Free Methodists specifically condemn IVF in their church doctrines. The Free Methodist Book of Discipline emphasizes the value of human life at all stages. It notes that reproductive technologies raise many “ethical, medical, legal and theological questions even as they offer hope.”

Parker was the founding executive director of what is now called the Alabama Policy Institute, which is associated with the evangelical ministry Focus on the Family. On its website, Focus on the Family recommends that married couples not freeze or discard embryos created during IVF.

Fertility experts say IVF without the option of frozen embryos would likely increase the costs of fertility treatments and reduce the chances for patients trying to have a baby.

A SETBACK FOR THE SECULAR STATE?

Because religious groups have different opinions about when life begins, “it’s quite problematic to see a judge essentially embedding a Christian view into state law,” said Greer Donley, an associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh who specializes in bioethics and health.

She said that other judges might increasingly apply religious thinking to their decisions.

“It’s particularly notable that (Parker) is not trying to hide that, but even if judges were careful in their language, the result is essentially the same,” Donley said.

Laser, of Americans United, said that even the Alabama court’s majority decision — which does not explicitly reference religion — is problematic; it states that all participants in the case “agree that an unborn child is a genetically unique human being whose life begins at fertilization and ends at death.”

“That is not taking into account everyone this policy is going to be imposed upon, including religious minorities, the nonreligious, Christians who have a different belief system,” Laser said. “It undermines true religious freedom.”

Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

TIFFANY STANLEY

In final primary debate, Senate candidates spar over Israel, immigration and campaign donations

Senate candidates took the stage or the final debate before the March 5 primary.

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The top four candidates vying for California’s open Senate seat squared off Tuesday night for the final debate before the March 5 primary, sniping over their track records in Congress and their political integrity.

Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank, Barbara Lee of Oakland and Katie Porter of Irvine, along with Republican retired baseball player Steve Garvey, emphasized their differences in the hourlong televised event, doing their best to increase their appeal to the state’s 22 million registered voters while undercutting their opponents.

The sharpest attacks came from Porter, who repeatedly criticized Schiff for accepting political donations from special interest groups funded by oil and gas companies. She also criticized Schiff for campaigning on his support for increasing affordable housing and child care while failing to add his name to bills in Congress that would address those issues.

“That’s the gap between Congressman Schiff and candidate Schiff,” Porter said.

Schiff fired back at Porter, saying that “real legislators” author bills, rather than simply adding their names to those drafted by other lawmakers. He said he had written bills to reduce the cost of child care, to add child care to federal facilities and to raise wages for child-care workers.

The debate was held as the primary election fast approaches, with ballots mailed out to California voters early this month. As of Tuesday, just 4% of the state’s registered voters had cast ballots, according to the campaign consulting firm Political Data Inc. Voters in recent weeks have been inundated with millions of dollars in political advertising in their mailboxes, on their television sets and in their social media feeds.

Clockwise from top left, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter, former Los Angeles Dodger Steve Garvey, and Rep. Barbara Lee.

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The majority of the spending has come from Schiff and his allies, who have worked to contrast his record with Garvey’s — the top Republican in the race, who supported former President Trump in the last two elections.

Under California’s “jungle primary” system, approved by voters a decade ago, the two candidates who secure the most votes will advance to the general election in November, regardless of their political party affiliation. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, Schiff’s path to election would be much easier if he faced a Republican in November.

The effort appears to be having an impact. An Emerson College poll released Tuesday found that Schiff was leading with the support of 28% of likely voters. Garvey came in second with 22% of likely voters. Porter and Lee followed with 16% and 9%, respectively.

Porter, Lee and Schiff cannot seek reelection to the House this year because they are running for Senate.

Candidates, from left, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., and former baseball player Steve Garvey, stand on stage during a televised debate for candidates in the senate race to succeed the late California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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All four candidates on the debate stage said they would have voted against the bipartisan $118-billion border security and foreign aid bill that was publicly opposed by Trump and has been left for dead in the Senate. President Biden has said that if the bill reaches his desk, he will sign it.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), who opposed the bill , did not have a seat at the negotiating table, nor did members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus or any border-state Democrats, Schiff said. Porter said the legislation “demonized immigrants,” while Lee said the bill did not include comprehensive immigration reform and needed more humane due process provisions.

Garvey too said he would have voted against it, saying: “Not the way it was laid out. There were too many things packed in there. Too many things hidden.”

The debate exposed well-trodden disagreements on subjects such as who accepted donations from corporations or how they would respond to the Israel-Hamas war.

During a question on climate change, Porter accused Schiff of accepting campaign funds from political action committees paid for by companies she called “polluters,” including BP, Sempra Energy and Southern California Gas Co.

Schiff argued that Porter had “not been fully clear about her own record,” saying she had accepted political contributions from people who work in the oil industry, on Wall Street and for pharmaceutical companies. The problem with the “purity tests” that Porter was trying to establish, Schiff said, is that “invariably, the people who establish them don’t meet them.”

Schiff’s accusation mirrored a new, multimillion-dollar campaign targeting Porter that launched this month. The ad claims that Porter has taken more than $100,000 “directly from big pharma, big oil and big bank executives,” and plays off her now-famous use of a whiteboard during congressional hearings, with handwriting scrawling across the board that reads, “deceitful politics, as usual.”

The ad is funded by Fairshake, an independent expenditure committee funded by Silicon Valley investors and cryptocurrency executives. (Such groups, also known as super PACs, can accept unlimited donations but cannot coordinate with the candidate’s campaign.) The group has spent more than $6.8 million targeting Porter’s candidacy, according to federal filings.

Porter decried the group as a “dark, shady super PAC.” She said fact checkers at the Sacramento Bee had called the claim “false.” (In fact, the Bee rated the claim “mostly false ,” noting that although Porter had accepted campaign contributions from workers at oil, pharmaceutical and finance companies, the firms aren’t major players in their industries.)

“I made a choice when I ran for office to never take corporate PAC money,” Porter said. “Rep. Schiff made a different choice and has taken nearly $2 million, including from big oil, big banks and big pharma.”

Fairshake reported raising more than $68 million last year and $6.8 million in January. Its major backers include venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, cryptocurrency executives Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Brian Armstrong, chief executive of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: House impeachment managers, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to members of the media as Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) listen prior to the Senate impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. The defense team will continue its arguments on day six of the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX*** ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **

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Feb. 9, 2024

During the debate, hosted by NBC4 and Telemundo 52, in partnership with Loyola Marymount University, each candidate faced a pointed question, aimed at a soft spot in their campaign.

Schiff was asked about his early history as a lawmaker in Sacramento, when he wrote tough-on-crime bills that sought to expand the use of the state’s “three strikes” law and would have allowed 14-year-olds charged with murder to be tried as adults. He responded that he “certainly would not author some of the legislation again,” but was proud of a bill he co-authored in 2000 that created the largest source of funding at the time for youth crime prevention and intervention.

Porter was asked why she has been endorsed by just one member of Congress from California: Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Long Beach). “I have something important in common with Robert: which is I went to Congress to not be beholden to corporate special interests,” Porter said.

Lee was asked whether she bore some responsibility for the rise of violent crime in Oakland, her home district. Lee didn’t directly answer the question, saying lawmakers needed to address the “underlying causes of some of these crimes,” including removing guns from the streets.

Garvey has said he would serve one term if elected. He was asked how he expected to govern in the Senate if he was a “lame duck on Day One.” He evaded the question twice, instead saying he would “get back to reading, writing and arithmetic to make sure that the next generation of our children are the new leaders.”

During a rapid-fire round of foreign policy questions, Lee said she would support a resolution calling for Israel to agree to an unconditional and immediate cease-fire in the war in the Gaza Strip, and Schiff, Porter and Garvey said they would not.

“I don’t see how there could be a lasting peace as long as a terrorist organization is governing Gaza and threatening to attack them over and over and over again, nor do I see how there can be a permanent cease-fire while that is true,” Schiff said. But, he said, Israel “must make every effort to avoid civilian casualties,” and the U.S. should push for a two-state solution.

Porter said that only Hamas and Israel can “determine what will be a lasting cease-fire for them. We can’t just pass resolutions and make it so.”

Biden has said that he would send troops to Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Schiff and Porter said they agreed with Biden; Lee and Garvey said they did not.

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homework against arguments

Benjamin Oreskes covers state and national politics for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he covered City Hall, homelessness and wrote the Essential California newsletter. Before coming to The Times in February 2017, he covered foreign policy at Politico in Washington, D.C.

homework against arguments

Laura J. Nelson covers politics and campaign finance for the Los Angeles Times.

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IMAGES

  1. For or against Homework (Debating)

    homework against arguments

  2. Arguments For And Against Doing Homework ― Is Homework Good for Kids

    homework against arguments

  3. Homework arguments

    homework against arguments

  4. Is Homework Illegal? (Arguments In Support and Against)

    homework against arguments

  5. The Great Homework Debate

    homework against arguments

  6. Homework by rborn703452

    homework against arguments

COMMENTS

  1. Homework Pros and Cons

    Research published in the High School Journal indicated that students who spent between 31 and 90 minutes each day on homework "scored about 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than their peers, who reported spending no time on homework each day, on average." [ 6]

  2. The Homework Debate: The Case Against Homework

    Gerald LeTendre, of Penn State's Education Policy Studies department points out that the shotgun approach to homework, when students all receive the same photocopied assignment which is then checked as complete rather than discussed individually with the student, is "not very effective."

  3. 15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons

    1. Giving homework to students does not always improve their academic outcomes. The reality of homework for the modern student is that we do not know if it is helpful to have extra work assigned to them outside of the classroom.

  4. Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

    The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier.

  5. The Pros and Cons: Should Students Have Homework?

    Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself. Photo by energepic.com from Pexels Why Should Students Have Homework? 1. Homework Encourages Practice Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice.

  6. Why Homework Doesn't Seem To Boost Learning--And How It Could

    Those arguments have merit, but why doesn't homework boost academic achievement? The research cited by educators just doesn't seem to make sense. If a child wants to learn to play the violin,...

  7. Special Topic / The Case For and Against Homework

    Arguments against homework are becoming louder and more popular, as evidenced by several recent books as well as an editorial in Time magazine (Wallis, 2006) that presented these arguments as truth without much discussion of alternative perspectives.

  8. Is homework a necessary evil?

    Homework can indeed produce academic benefits, such as increased understanding and retention of the material, says Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, PhD, one of the nation's leading homework researchers. But not all students benefit.

  9. The Pros and Cons of Homework

    Con 1: Too Much Homework Can Negatively Affect Students You'll often hear from students that they're stressed out by schoolwork. Stress becomes even more apparent as students get into higher grade levels.

  10. Should homework be banned? The big debate

    The big debate Homework is a polarising topic. It can cause students to feel stressed or anxious. It adds extra pressure on teachers, who are often already struggling with their workloads. And, some parents resent the way homework can cut into family time at home. Yet despite this,... By Maria Di Mario April 28, 2021 188 72548

  11. PDF Does Homework Really Improve Achievement? Kevin C. Costley, Ph.D ...

    arguments against homework as truth without much discussion of alternative perspectives (Wallis, 2006). Student achievement in schools has always been a concern for parents, students, and educators. There have been several theories on the areas of what help students achieve. One of

  12. 27 Top Homework Pros and Cons (2024)

    Key arguments for homework include the fact it gives students structure, improves their learning, and improves parent-teacher relationships. Arguments for the cons of homework include the fact it interferes with playtime and causes stress to children, leading to arguments that homework should be banned. Contents show

  13. Should Kids Get Homework?

    Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary. "Every child should be doing homework, but the ...

  14. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, " You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and...

  15. Is homework a good idea or not?

    What are the arguments for homework? "In parts of the world, children are doing much better in school than children in the UK. In most cases, they are doing much more homework. "That doesn't...

  16. Adam Simpson

    Here are my favourite four arguments for and against giving learners homework: The case for #1: Class time isn't enough and learners need extra practice. ... The case against #3: Homework doesn't lead to better performance. Too much homework can be a bad thing. Research indicates there is a weak link between achievement and homework ...

  17. In Defense of Homework: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?

    As a middle school and high school teacher, I assigned a lot of homework to my students. And though writers such as Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, make sound arguments against it -- particularly the drill-and-kill variety -- I stand behind the homework I gave.Why? In the twelve years I taught in low-income urban and rural schools, I saw my students extend their skills, their ...

  18. Why Students Should Not Have Homework

    Critics argue that homework, particularly in excessive amounts, can lead to negative outcomes such as stress, burnout, and a diminished love for learning. Moreover, it often disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbating educational inequities.

  19. 20 Pros and Cons of Homework

    1. It encourages the discipline of practice. Repeating the same problems over and over can be boring and difficult, but it also reinforces the practice of discipline. To get better at a skill, repetition is often necessary. You get better with each repetition.

  20. Setting homework: the arguments for, against and some ...

    The argument against homework. Despite there being a fairly compelling body of research supporting homework, there are notable problems with research such as that mentioned above. First, most research cannot account for influences such as teacher effects and second, it is difficult to ascertain cause and effect. ...

  21. Is Homework Illegal? (Arguments In Support and Against)

    One of the arguments that homework is illegal or constitutes slavery is that the children do not want to do the homework. They are being made to do it. They did not agree to do the homework. But here's the thing. People under the age of 18 in the United States cannot make most decisions for themselves.

  22. What are the arguments for and against the statement "Homework is a

    The arguments against homework are few but powerful. Parents don't want homework because they must supervise or the student has activities. Family time is another argument against if...

  23. Mobile phones in schools: are they being banned?

    By the age of 12, 97% of children own a mobile phone, but the use of mobile phones in school can lead to distractions, disruption and can increase the risk of online bullying. Many schools have already introduced rules which …

  24. Supreme Court to hear arguments on online content moderation

    As Congress has largely stayed at a standstill over internet policy, the Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in cases that could shake up a broad swath of the online landscape and define how ...

  25. First Amendment Fight Pits Red States Against Big Tech at Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court this week confronts a clash of views about free-speech protections on the internet, in a pair of cases pitting such social-media giants as Meta and Google against ...

  26. Court releases April argument calendar

    The justices will hear arguments on April 22 in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, a case challenging the constitutionality of the city's enforcement of its ban on public camping against homeless people who do not have access to shelter elsewhere. After two lower courts blocked the city from enforcing the ban, the Grants Pass asked the Supreme ...

  27. Alabama IVF ruling sparks church-state debate

    The Alabama court's ruling that frozen embryos are children is an extension of the ideology that undergirds the anti-abortion movement, said Mary Ziegler, a historian of the abortion debate and a law professor at the University of California, Davis. And it points to the influence of the conservative Christian legal movement, she said.

  28. Should Falcons Trade for Justin Fields: Case For & Against

    Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) rushes for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Soldier Field.

  29. In final primary debate, Senate candidates spar over Israel

    All four candidates on the debate stage said they would have voted against the bipartisan $118-billion border security and foreign aid bill that was publicly opposed by Trump and has been left for ...