Monday, May 28, 2007

Cory says, "Homework Sucks!"

Today on Boing Boing: Cory Doctorow's review of The Case Against Homework by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish. He calls it "a fine and frightening explosion of the homework myth: that giving kids homework improves their educational outcome..."

"...all the credible research on homework suggests that for younger kids, homework has no connection with positive learning outcomes, and for older kids, the benefits of homework level off sharply after the first couple assignments...

"...Not that most teachers would know this -- homework theory and design isn't on the curriculum at most teachers' colleges, and most teachers surveyed report that they have never received any training on designing and assessing homework...

"...The stories go on and on, and just when you're ready to throw in the towel and send your kids into the woods to be raised by wolves, the authors supply several long chapters of strategies and sample dialogs for convincing your kids' teachers to ease off on homework, for changing the homework policies in your school district and for rallying other parents to their cause.

"They're not whistling Dixie, either: the authors have gone through this themselves, challenging and changing the homework policies in their kids' school districts. The last section of the book is an activist guide and a postmortem of the strategies they employed. One of the authors, Sara Bennett, is a celebrated civil rights lawyer; the other, Nancy Kalish, is a famous editor and writer of material for parents, especially mothers. One imagines that their school board didn't know what hit them" [full text of review].

More information can be found on, co-author Sara Bennett's blog. She recommends taking action by signing the petition calling for the dismantling of the "No Child Left Behind" Act at The Educator Roundtable.

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