The Homework Inequality

No matter how bad things get in this country, we’ll always have Paris … to make us fell not so dumb.

How do you think this would go over in the United States? French President François Hollande has said he will end homework as part of a series of reforms to overhaul the country’s education system.

Hmm. Interesting. There’s been some pushback in our education system against homework. A lot of educators think it’s just busy work and should be scaled back, especially for younger children. So perhaps …. oh:

He doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get help from their parents at home while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t. It’s an issue that goes well beyond France, and has been part of the reason that some Americans oppose homework too.

You know, there’s a reason millions of parents are involved in their kids lives: it’s because they want them to have an advantage in life. That’s the whole point of involved parenting. Otherwise, we’d just dump them at the local gulag and forget about it. I use that word precisely — the Soviet Union infamously forced children into full-time daycare at ages of 2-3 months. This was partially for indoctrination and partially so no kid would have an advantage over any other (except the children of the Elite, of course. I’m betting that his kids got plenty of homework and plenty of help with it.

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    The case against public schools just keeps getting better…

    Remember, your average teacher is a lefty idiot that support this line of thinking.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    um … aren’t, for the most part, you TESTED at your homework at some point anyway!?> And isn’t it always obvious when a kid isn’t doing his own work?

    Well, this is one of the reasons I’m not down with the entire homework thing. It seems more like a reward for busy work than knowledge.

    My first five years of grade school, I got straight A’s. My sixth year, however, my GPA crumbled. I was doing just as well on the tests as I always did. But a huge part of the class grade was homework, which I basically neglected because I didn’t see the point.

    I will concede that maybe the teachers were right. Bad study habits dogged my entire schooling career. But it was still a shocking change that my knowledge didn’t matter as much as having followed instructions.

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  3. AlexInCT

    I will concede that maybe the teachers were right. Bad study habits dogged my entire schooling career. But it was still a shocking change that my knowledge didn’t matter as much as having followed instructions.

    Welcome to real life preparation 101, Hal. Employers like smart people a lot, but smart people that can’t follow the simple rules are more of a liability than a bonus. That’s the cold hard truth about homework responsibilities and how the rest of your working life will play out.

    I have an inordinate amount of freedom to self manage my work load because I am good at doing that and my work, but I still have to do things I would much rather not, because it is expected by the people handing me my pay check. Life has a lot of these nasty compromises. That’s why intelligence alone is not a sign of success or capability. Wisdom plays a large role in that…….

    I am assuming you learned that lesson later in life like I did, hopefully long before it caused you way more pain that you warranted, but I might be wrong.

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  4. balthazar

    Shrug, as i told my mom when i was 15 and the teachers called her saying I wasn’t doing my homework, ever, “Mom, homework is for stupid people that don’t get it the first time.”

    Never failed a test, most were 85 or higher too. Shrug, IMHO homework should be optional, if you pass the test that is given about the subject, whats the big deal?

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    I am assuming you learned that lesson later in life like I did, hopefully long before it caused you way more pain that you warranted, but I might be wrong.

    Oh, yes. I was a good boy after that. And you can’t succeed in science if you can’t show your work.

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  6. Poosh

    In addition, homework is *meant* to teach children how to do indepdendant study and teach them personal skills. I mean, at College and University (College is ages 16-18, Uni is separate and 18+), you don’t have anyone holding your hand, most of it is private work. So homework at a younger age seems most apt.

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  7. TheContrarian

    He doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get help from their parents at home while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t. It’s an issue that goes well beyond France, and has been part of the reason that some Americans oppose homework too.

    There are good arguments against homework, but this is not one of them. Why should we try to erase the advantage students get from having involved parents? Follow the logic; what does it incentivize?

    The case against public schools just keeps getting better…

    The case against them is better than you’ll ever know. Take it from a former teacher. I’m already homeschooling my little one.

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  8. hist_ed

    I won’t wade too deep into whether or not homework is a good thing, except to say two things (oh shit, maybe I am wading deep):
    1) Homework needs vary a lot by student. Sure there are kids who can suck it up in class and get it right on the tests, but these are not the majority of students
    2) The type of homework is important-there is meaningful work that can be done at home that is not the same as “Use each outlined vocabulary word in a sentence”
    3) Homework is more important in some subjects than others. Math and foreign languages in particular benefit from lots of practice and/or rote learning.

    That said, this is the year I stop fighting it. I have gotten grief from parents and administrators for years. “Mr Hist_ed gives too much work.” Not many kids ever complained, interestingly enough. After getting a little spanking last year for a couple of other things, I am done giving out homework except for projects (and they will have plenty of class time to do those). Why the fuck am I taking my time to grade meaningful work and chase after kids who won’t do it when the higher ups see it as a bad idea. Used to be music to my ears when my students would come back and tell me that after my class, high school history wasn’t too tough. Guess that song won’t be playing much anymore.

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  9. Mississippi Yankee

    Why the fuck am I taking my time to grade meaningful work and chase after kids who won’t do it when the higher ups see it as a bad idea.

    And one more public school teacher declares “Close enough for government work”

    And America dies…
    [the children march on stage with papier-mâché puppet heads of Marx,Lenin and Stalin]
    {exit stage left}
    THE END

    Be honest, do I have what it take to be a screen-writer… or what?

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  10. Xetrov

    My first five years of grade school, I got straight A’s. My sixth year, however, my GPA crumbled. I was doing just as well on the tests as I always did. But a huge part of the class grade was homework, which I basically neglected because I didn’t see the point.

    I will concede that maybe the teachers were right. Bad study habits dogged my entire schooling career. But it was still a shocking change that my knowledge didn’t matter as much as having followed instructions.

    I had the exact same experience. School became a lot less interesting when I realized it was about learning to do the teacher’s dance, instead of actually learning anything.

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  11. Hal_10000 *

    hat said, this is the year I stop fighting it. I have gotten grief from parents and administrators for years. “Mr Hist_ed gives too much work.” Not many kids ever complained, interestingly enough.

    Hist, as much as we bash unions around here, I have to tip my hat to you. Now that my daughter is in school, I’m seeing more and more how ridiculous it can get. No matter what they do, some of the parents whine about it. And ours is a great school!

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  12. AlexInCT

    That said, this is the year I stop fighting it. I have gotten grief from parents and administrators for years.

    My how things have changed. Back when I was a kid and I got home and told my parents I had too much homework or got in trouble in school, I immediately was told to shut up and go do the work or they would call the teacher and ask him/her to give me even more work, or I was asked what I had done wrong. I remember telling my mom how a teacher had hit me, and affter giving me a slap, she asked me “what did you do this time?”. She was right too. I didn’t end up with 15 suspensions because I was a good kid (I was bored and unchallenged byt the usual lame work load, and I spent my high school years mostly in European style systems that handed out 3x the work load they did here in the US because my dad believed you went to school with the natives when you live somewhere). Today parents would be calling a lawyer if Junior came home and told them they had gotten disciplined.

    When I go to my kid’s school – and my kids school is ranked amonst the top ones in the nation – for parent teacher events, I am usually the only one there. Even more frightening is the reaction I get from the teachers when I tell them to stop sugar coating the nonsense and give it to me straight. They first panic, but once they truly realize I want to know what the problems my son is facing are, so they can be addressed them, they all but become drunk and giddy with pleasure. You can not imagine how often I have had the conversation where they tell me the parents and their reactions seem to be the most detrimental aspect to them in being able to teach the kids anything. And we are dealing with a bunch of liberal teachers here making these complaints. And we wonder why we are producing so many useless leftoid drones that are not even qualified to flip burgers.

    How sad.

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  13. davidst

    People learn things through repetition. A homework grade makes sense because you can cram for 4 exams and get all A’s and then forget all the material a month later. If you did all the homework assignments as well, a lot more of it will stick. If you fail the tests but did the homework, you probably still learned something… maybe you’re just not good at tests. I did tend to skimp on homework, but I made sure I got enough done not to hurt my grades most of the time.

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  14. ilovecress

    My parents used to be teachers, and they always said that homework was as much for the parents as it was for the teachers.

    Mum was head teacher (principal) of a *really* bad inner city school, and one of the first things she did was to institute homework – for no other reason than to introduce the concept of learning into the homes of these kids. She always said that a kid reading 15 books alone in the library was less valuable than a kid asking their dad for help with a word for the first time.

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