Tag Archives: Why ‘Race to Nowhere’ documentary is wrong:

Brookings study: Homework amount consistent, people complaining more

18 Mar

Moi has posted quite a bit about homework. In Pros and cons of homework:
Vicki Abeles directed a very popular documentary, “The Race to Nowhere.” John Merrow, education correspondent for PBS writes in the Huffington Post article, ‘Race to Nowhere:’ It’s no ‘Waiting for ‘Superman’, ‘ but it’s Honest:

By now it seems we have all reviewed “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” but what’s surprising is that WFS is just one of four or five movies about education now out. A few weeks ago I reviewed WFS, and now I’ve decided to review the rest of them, beginning with “Race to Nowhere,” the 2009 film made by first-time director (and angry parent) Vicki Abeles.
“Race to Nowhere” is a film about how schools and parental pressure are affecting students’ mental and emotional wellbeing. WFS portrays our schools as undemanding; “Race to Nowhere” says the opposite — that we are killing our kids, figuratively and sometimes literally….
Some moments in “Race to Nowhere” just jump off the screen. One that I found particularly compelling: a young woman speaking on a panel asks her audience to identify the worst question a parent can ask his or her child. Turns out, she says, it’s a one-word question. Just
“And?” As in this circumstance:
Child: “I’m taking three honors courses.”
Parent: “And?”
Child: “Well, I have the lead in the school play.”
Parent: “And?”
Child: “I made the volleyball team.”
Parent: “And?”You get the picture. The parents are never satisfied, and the child can never relax. Life for these students is nothing but stress and unrealistic expectations. The world the film conjures up is all too familiar: students are expected to perform and produce but aren’t given time to play. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-merrow/race-to-nowhere-its-no-wa_b_751330.html

See, Why ‘Race to Nowhere’ documentary is wrong http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-race-to-nowhere-documentary-is-wrong/2011/04/03/AFBt27VC_blog.html

Kenneth Goldberg, a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience working with children, adolescents and adults writes in the Washington Post about homework. He is also the author of “The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.” In Why Some Kids Cant Do Homework And What Teachers Should Do About It, Goldberg writes:

Parents do not send their children to school planning to challenge the system. They are eager for their children to learn and they want to help out if they can. They expect their children will comply. Often, it works. Sometimes, it does not.
Too often, we look at homework noncompliance as a problem of motivation when the fact is that these children simply cannot do the work (or at least do all of the work). These children need homework relief, and, above all, they need for their parents to call the shots.
So teachers, go ahead and assign, and take some liberty in making school fun. If you step on some toes, offer an apology and go on. But also, honor the boundaries between home and school. If a child is making a lot of excuses, ask the parents for help, and look to them for direction about what to do. If that parent says her child cannot do the work, or can do only half of the work, or can only work for half an hour and then has to be excused, accept the fact that the class is your zone, the home belongs to the parent, and, in the home, the parents should have the final say. http://thehomeworktrap.com/
You may also like:
Why homework is counterproductive http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/alfie-kohn/why-homework-is-counterproduct.html
The insanity of too much homework http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-were-getting-the-homework-question-wrong/2012/05/13/gIQA1nJGNU_blog.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-some-kids-cant-do-homework-and-what-teachers-should-do-about-it/2012/06/03/gJQAl3cGBV_blog.html

There are benefits for some children to have homework, with limitations to the amount of time needed to complete the homework. https://drwilda.com/2012/06/03/pros-and-cons-of-homework/
The Brown Center for Education of Brookings studied the amount of homework historically.

Joy Resmovits of Huffington Post reported in the article, Students Probably Do Less Homework Than You Think, Study Says:

The portrait of the American student buried under a crippling load of homework has been way overblown in news articles, argues a new report from the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.
Homework loads have actually been stable over the last 30 years, despite front-page reports of overworked kids and a century-old “war on homework,” according to the report, one of three released Tuesday by Brookings’ Brown Center on Education Policy. The study relies on federal surveys of students before they took the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a parental survey by MetLife, and University of California, Los Angeles’s Higher Education Research Institute survey of college freshmen.
The image of kids drowning in homework has been swirling for years. In 1900, Ladies Home Journal editor Edward Bok called homework “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents,” resulting in what the new study’s author, Tom Loveless, called “an anti-homework campaign … that grew into a national crusade.”
In 1901, California banned homework for any student younger than 15. More recently, major publications have joined the war on homework, arguing it hurts students — in part, said Loveless, due to the No Child Left Behind Act’s focus on student performance. Last fall, The Atlantic magazine featured a titled “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me.”
The war on homework also has gained steam recently from parents concerned about a new wave of standardized tests attached to the Common Core State Standards.
But the Brookings study gives ammunition to those who worry students actually may have too little homework…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/too-much-homework-study_n_4981565.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Here is an excerpt by Tom Loveless of the report on Homework from Brookings:

Part II is on homework, updating a study presented in the 2003 Brown Center Report. That study was conducted at a time when homework was on the covers of several popular magazines. The charge then was that the typical student’s homework load was getting out of control. The 2003 study examined the best evidence on students’ homework burden and found the charge to be an exaggeration.
Now, a little more than a decade later, homework is again under attack. In 2011, the New York Times ran a front page story describing “a wave of districts across the nation trying to remake homework amid concerns that high stakes testing and competition for college have fueled a nightly grind that is stressing out children and depriving them of play and rest, yet doing little to raise achievement, especially in elementary grades.”[1] A September 2013 Atlantic article, “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me,” featured a father who spent a week doing the same three or more hours of nightly homework as his daughter.
The current study finds little evidence that the homework load has increased for the average student. Those with a heavy burden, two or more hours of homework per night, do indeed exist, but they are a distinct minority. The maximum size of the heavy homework group is less than 15%, and that’s true even for 17-year-olds. In national polls, parents are more likely to say their children have too little homework than too much. And a solid majority says the amount of their children’s homework is about right. With one exception, the homework load has remained stable since 1984. The exception involves nine-year-olds, primarily because the percentage of nine-year-olds with no homework declined while the percentage with some homework—but less than an hour—increased. Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArKr1exR2rg&feature=youtu.be for an animated visual display of many of Part II’s findings. http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2014/03/18-brown-center-report-loveless

The key is the quality of the homework and the relevance of the homework to the education objective or plan for a particular child. See, Is homework a necessary evil? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/is-homework-a-necessary-evil/

Resources:

Homework Help http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/homework_help.html

Homework Tips for Parents

Click to access homeworktips.pdf

Related:

Pros and cons of homework
https://drwilda.com/2012/06/03/pros-and-cons-of-homework/

Is homework a necessary evil?
https://drwilda.com/2012/04/07/is-homework-a-necessary-evil/

Indiana University study: Homework doesn’t improve grades https://drwilda.com/2012/11/17/indiana-university-study-homework-doesnt-improve-grades/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Indiana University study: Homework doesn’t improve grades

17 Nov

Moi wrote about homework in Pros and cons of homework:

Vicki Abeles directed a very popular documentary, “The Race to Nowhere.” John Merrow, education correspondent for PBS writes in the Huffington Post article, ‘Race to Nowhere:’ It’s no ‘Waiting for ‘Superman’, ‘ but it’s Honest:

By now it seems we have all reviewed “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” but what’s surprising is that WFS is just one of four or five movies about education now out. A few weeks ago I reviewed WFS, and now I’ve decided to review the rest of them, beginning with “Race to Nowhere,” the 2009 film made by first-time director (and angry parent) Vicki Abeles.

Race to Nowhere” is a film about how schools and parental pressure are affecting students’ mental and emotional wellbeing. WFS portrays our schools as undemanding; “Race to Nowhere” says the opposite — that we are killing our kids, figuratively and sometimes literally….

Some moments in “Race to Nowhere” just jump off the screen. One that I found particularly compelling: a young woman speaking on a panel asks her audience to identify the worst question a parent can ask his or her child. Turns out, she says, it’s a one-word question. Just

And?” As in this circumstance:
Child: “I’m taking three honors courses.”
Parent: “And?”
Child: “Well, I have the lead in the school play.”
Parent: “And?”
Child: “I made the volleyball team.”
Parent: “And?”You get the picture. The parents are never satisfied, and the child can never relax. Life for these students is nothing but stress and unrealistic expectations. The world the film conjures up is all too familiar: students are expected to perform and produce but aren’t given time to play. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-merrow/race-to-nowhere-its-no-wa_b_751330.html

See, Why ‘Race to Nowhere’ documentary is wrong http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-race-to-nowhere-documentary-is-wrong/2011/04/03/AFBt27VC_blog.ht

Huffington Post reports about the value of homework in the article, Homework Doesn’t Improve Student Course Grades, But Could Boost Standardized Test Scores: Study:

There has been much debate surround the value of homework, and a recent study led by an Indiana University School of Education faculty member has found little correlation between time spent on homework and better course grades for math and science students. It did, however, did identify a positive relationship between homework time and performance on standardized tests.

The authors examined survey and transcript data of more than 18,000 10th grade students, focusing on individual classes. They suggest that factors like class participation and attendance may mitigate the association of homework to stronger grade performance, while the type of homework assigned may cater to standardized test preparation versus retaining knowledge of class material.

According to the report’s author, IU School of Education assistant professor Adam Maltese, “if students are spending more time on homework, they’re getting exposed to the types of questions and the procedures for answering questions that are not so different from standardized tests.”

The time spent on homework reported by most students represents the equivalent of 100-180 50-minute class periods of extra learning time each year, according to the report. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/study-finds-little-correl_n_2145434.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Here is the Indiana University press release:

IU study: Homework doesn’t improve course grades but could boost standardized test scores

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 15, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A study led by an Indiana University School of Education faculty member finds little correlation between time spent on homework and better course grades for math and science students, but a positive relationship between homework time and performance on standardized tests.

“When Is Homework Worth the Time?” is a recently published work of Adam Maltese, assistant professor of science education in the IU School of Education, along with co-authors Robert H. Tai, associate professor of science education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, and Xitao Fan, dean of education at the University of Macau.

The authors examined survey and transcript data of more than 18,000 10th-grade students to uncover explanations for academic performance. The data focused on individual classes for students, examining the outcomes through the transcripts for students from two nationwide samples collected in 1990 and 2002 by the National Center for Education Statistics. Contrary to much of the published research, a regression analysis of time spent on homework and the final class grade found no substantive difference in grades between students who complete homework and those who do not. But the analysis found a positive association between student performance on standardized tests and the time they spent on homework.

“Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be,” Maltese said.

The authors suggest in their conclusions that other factors such as class participation and attendance may mitigate the association of homework to stronger grade performance. They also indicate that the types of homework assignments typically given may work better toward standardized test preparation than for retaining knowledge of class material. Maltese puts forward the idea that “if students are spending more time on homework, they’re getting exposed to the types of questions and the procedures for answering questions that are not so different from standardized tests.”

Maltese said the genesis for the study was a concern about whether a traditional and ubiquitous educational practice, such as homework, is associated with students achieving at a higher level in math and science. Many media reports about education compare U.S. students unfavorably to high-achieving math and science students from across the world. The 2007 documentary film “Two Million Minutes” compared two Indiana students to students in India and China, taking particular note of how much more time the Indian and Chinese students spent on studying or completing homework.

“We’re not trying to say that all homework is bad,” Maltese said. “It’s expected that students are going to do homework. This is more of an argument that it should be quality over quantity. So in math, rather than doing the same types of problems over and over again, maybe it should involve having students analyze new types of problems or data. In science, maybe the students should write concept summaries instead of just reading a chapter and answering the questions at the end.”

This issue is particularly relevant given that the time spent on homework reported by most students translates into the equivalent of 100 to 180 50-minute class periods of extra learning time each year.

“The results from this study imply that homework should be purposeful,” Tai said, “and that the purpose must be understood by both the teacher and the students.”

The authors conclude that given current policy initiatives of the U.S. Department of Education, states and school districts to improve science, technology, engineering and math education, more evaluation should be done about how to use homework time more effectively. They suggest more research be done on the form and function of homework assignments.

“In today’s current educational environment, with all the activities taking up children’s time both in school and out of school, the purpose of each homework assignment must be clear and targeted,” Tai said. “With homework, more is not better.”

“If homework is going to be such an important component of learning in American schools, it should be used in some way that’s more beneficial,” Maltese said. “More thought needs to be given to this, rather than just repeating problems already done in class.”

The full article is published in The High School Journal.

Citation:

When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association Between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math

Adam V. Maltese, Robert H. Tai, Xitao Fan

From: The High School Journal
Volume 96, Number 1, Fall 2012
pp. 52-72 | 10.1353/hsj.2012.0015

Abstract

Abstract:

Even with the history of debate over the merits of homework, there are significant gaps in the research record regarding its benefit to students. The focus of this study is on the association between time spent on homework and academic performance in science and math by assessing survey and transcript data from two nationally representative samples of high school students collected in 1990 and 2002. Using multiple linear regressions and controlling for students’ background, motivation, and prior achievement, we investigated how much variance in science and math course grades and achievement test scores could be explained by time spent on homework in those classes. The results indicate that there is no consistent significant relationship between time spent on homework and grades, but a consistently positive significant relationship between homework and performance on standardized exams.

There are certain populations of children who will benefit from homework assignments.

Education is quite often a one-size-fits-all approach. Each population of children is different and education strategies MUST be designed to address the needs of the child. For some children whose backgrounds are not as enriched as others; it may mean homework is necessary to bring them up to grade level. Education programs must be tailored to the needs of each child.

Resources:

Homework Help                                                                              http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/homework_help.html

Homework Tips for Parents                                              http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/involve/homework/homeworktips.pdf

Related:

Pros and cons of homework                                                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/06/03/pros-and-cons-of-homework/

Is homework a necessary evil?                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/04/07/is-homework-a-necessary-evil/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                         http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                https://drwilda.com/

Pros and cons of homework

3 Jun

Vicki Abeles directed a very popular documentary, “The Race to Nowhere.” John Merrow, education correspondent for PBS writes in the Huffington Post article, ‘Race to Nowhere:’ It’s no ‘Waiting for ‘Superman’, ‘ but it’s Honest:

By now it seems we have all reviewed “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” but what’s surprising is that WFS is just one of four or five movies about education now out. A few weeks ago I reviewed WFS, and now I’ve decided to review the rest of them, beginning with “Race to Nowhere,” the 2009 film made by first-time director (and angry parent) Vicki Abeles.

“Race to Nowhere” is a film about how schools and parental pressure are affecting students’ mental and emotional wellbeing. WFS portrays our schools as undemanding; “Race to Nowhere” says the opposite — that we are killing our kids, figuratively and sometimes literally….

Some moments in “Race to Nowhere” just jump off the screen. One that I found particularly compelling: a young woman speaking on a panel asks her audience to identify the worst question a parent can ask his or her child. Turns out, she says, it’s a one-word question. Just

“And?” As in this circumstance:
Child: “I’m taking three honors courses.”
Parent: “And?”
Child: “Well, I have the lead in the school play.”
Parent: “And?”
Child: “I made the volleyball team.”
Parent: “And?”
You get the picture. The parents are never satisfied, and the child can never relax. Life for these students is nothing but stress and unrealistic expectations. The world the film conjures up is all too familiar: students are expected to perform and produce but aren’t given time to play. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-merrow/race-to-nowhere-its-no-wa_b_751330.html

See, Why ‘Race to Nowhere’ documentary is wrong http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-race-to-nowhere-documentary-is-wrong/2011/04/03/AFBt27VC_blog.html

Kenneth Goldberg, a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience working with children, adolescents and adults writes in the Washington Post about homework. He is also the author of “The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.” In Why Some Kids Cant Do Homework And What Teachers Should Do About It, Goldberg writes:

Parents do not send their children to school planning to challenge the system. They are eager for their children to learn and they want to help out if they can. They expect their children will comply. Often, it works. Sometimes, it does not.

Too often, we look at homework noncompliance as a problem of motivation when the fact is that these children simply cannot do the work (or at least do all of the work). These children need homework relief, and, above all, they need for their parents to call the shots.

So teachers, go ahead and assign, and take some liberty in making school fun. If you step on some toes, offer an apology and go on. But also, honor the boundaries between home and school. If a child is making a lot of excuses, ask the parents for help, and look to them for direction about what to do. If that parent says her child cannot do the work, or can do only half of the work, or can only work for half an hour and then has to be excused, accept the fact that the class is your zone, the home belongs to the parent, and, in the home, the parents should have the final say.

You may also like:

Why homework is counterproductive

The insanity of too much homework

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-some-kids-cant-do-homework-and-what-teachers-should-do-about-it/2012/06/03/gJQAl3cGBV_blog.html

There are benefits for some children to have homework, with limitations to the amount of time needed to complete the homework.

Glori Chaika has written an excellent Education World article, Help! Homework Is Wrecking My Home Life!

ASK THE EXPERTS FOR HOMEWORK GUIDELINES

“Check out the National PTA and the National Education Association guidelines,” University of Missouri psychology professor Harris Cooper, author of a pioneer study on the effect of homework on student achievement, told Education World. “For children in grades K through 2, homework is most effective when it does not exceed ten to 20 minutes each day. Children in grades three through six can handle 30 to 60 minutes a day. If educators and parents expect homework far out of line with these recommendations to result in big gains in test scores, they are likely to be disappointed.”

After reviewing dozens of existing studies on homework and researching hundreds of students and parents, Cooper found that although doing homework may begin to pay off in secondary school, little correlation exists between homework and test scores in elementary school.

Carol Huntsinger’s research, however, had different results. Huntsinger, an education professor at the College of Lake County, Chicago, also investigated the study habits of young children. She found that for her sample, work done at home did make a difference.

Huntsinger compared the homework habits of middle-class immigrant Chinese Americans with similar European Americans. The Chinese American first graders she studied spent more than 20 minutes per night on math homework — some of which their parents assigned. European Americans averaged just five minutes. When tested, the Chinese American children performed at higher academic levels than did their European American counterparts. In a longitudinal companion study of European American and Chinese American children from grades 5 through 11, Huntsinger found that those disparities continued through high school.

“Parents’ beliefs and practices are very important influences on their children’s academic achievement,” Huntsinger told Education World. “We got similar results for European American children in our study whose parents taught them in ways similar to those Chinese American parents used. … I looked at time spent on parent-assigned homework, school-assigned homework, and the formality of parents’ teaching methods. Most other studies have focused on time spent on school-assigned homework only.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE QUALITY OF THE ASSIGNMENTS?

Cooper found the effect of school-assigned homework on standardized test scores for students in lower grades to be minimal or nonexistent; however, the homework completed by the students Huntsinger studied was not necessarily schoolwork but focused on themes the families felt were important. Just how big a difference is there between the quality of typical school-selected assignments and those parents tend to select?

To find out, researchers funded by the Consortium on Chicago School Research asked teachers to evaluate the quality of 1,400 math and writing assignments for third, sixth, and eighth graders from 12 different schools.

“According to criteria established by prior research, the teachers found fewer than 30 percent of the assignments evaluated even minimally challenging,” University of Wisconsin professor Fred Newmann, one of the study’s authors, told Education World. “It will take a significant commitment to staff development to help teachers … change their teaching sufficiently to promote more authentic intellectual work.”

QUALITY VS. QUANTITY

However, when it comes to older children and math, quantity, or the number of assignments, is what matters, according to associate professor of economics Julian Betts of the University of California, San Diego. Betts examined surveys on the homework habits of 6,000 junior and senior high students over a period of five years.

“It appears to be the overall extent of (math) homework assigned and not the amount that is graded that matters,” Betts told Education World. For older children, the quality of assignments had absolutely no influence on math achievement!

Students who did an extra 30 minutes of nightly math homework beginning in grade 7 increased their achievement scores the equivalent of two grade levels by grade 11. Differences in achievement remained — though at a slightly depreciated level — even if students stopped doing the extra homework.

“Overall, the best advice for math teachers in middle and high school seems to be that homework can be very effective and helps the bottom kids just as much as it helps the top students in the class,” Betts told Education World. “As long as homework levels are maintained at a reasonable level, and teachers in different subject areas carefully coordinate homework assignments to avoid overloading students, an hour of assigned homework appears to be about as effective as an hour spent in the classroom.”

HOMEWORK CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A review of the research in the field, Homework: What Does the Research Say?, published by ERIC’s National Parent Information Network, found that high school students who receive school-assigned homework perform 69 percent better on standardized tests and have higher grades than do students who don’t. Junior high students who receive homework perform 35 percent better; and elementary students perform about the same.

That does not mean elementary students should have no homework, only that grades or results on standardized tests do not measure the benefits of homework.

Currently, the prevailing feeling is that students need homework to stay competitive in the global market — that the extra work and responsibility give kids an edge. There is a problem, though, if family time is minimized and children no longer have time to play or if students don’t graduate because of failing homework grades. Experts suggest approximately ten minutes of homework a night, starting in first grade, with an additional ten minutes each year. They also stress, however, the importance of teachers’ addressing the issue of assignment quality….

So the experts agree: Homework can have a positive effect on achievement as children grow older. Despite the experts’ stress on monitoring the quality and quantity of homework, many students are left trying to cope with a huge, often boring, homework load. They wonder — is anyone out there listening?http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin182.shtml

The key is the quality of the homework and the relevance of the homework to the education objective or plan for a particular child. See, Is homework a necessary evil?  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/is-homework-a-necessary-evil/

Related:

Homework Help                                                                               http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/homework_help.html

Homework Tips for Parents                                                            http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/involve/homework/homeworktips.pdf

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Is homework a necessary evil?

7 Apr

For many students and parents who are high achievers, homework is a pressing issues. Peter Dewitt’s Education Week article, The Homework Debate outlines the issues:

Homework, if given at all, needs to be engaging for a student. If the student is the only one completing it at home, then it should certainly be student-centered because that will increase the likelihood that it will get done at all. The point, however, is to not give students something to do at night as busy work, because they can find their own engaging activities which can be more important to their development than homework.

Things to Remember:

  • The same homework assignment can take a short or long period to complete depending on the ability of the student
  • Not all home environments are conducive for completing homework
  • Students who struggle in school will continue to struggle on homework. The magic of a higher reading ability or math ability doesn’t happen when they walk in their house
  • Just because the teacher or parent had homework when they were younger doesn’t mean the students have to have homework as well. If educators want students to change with the times, their assignments have to change with the times as well.
  • Test prep should never be given for homework. It’s boring and sends the message that all the school thinks about is achieving high marks on a test.
  • Sometimes parents want to help their children with homework but may not know the “right” way or newest way of doing it, which could be counterproductive to getting it done correctly.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/02/the_homework_debate.html

Vicki Abeles’ film “Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture” examined the pressure to succeed among certain populations of students and families.    

Jay Mathews of the Washington Post argued in his article, Why ‘Race to Nowhere’ documentary is wrong:

Some students and families overdo AP. Abeles is right to point that out. But AP, like the college pressure that concerns her, is concentrated in only a few places. My annual Challenge Index rankings, moving this year from Newsweek to washingtonpost.com, show that only 7 percent of high schools have AP participation rates higher than what would be achieved with only half of juniors and half of seniors taking just one AP course and test a year. The vast majority of high schools do far less.

Abeles says that low-income students still suffer from academic pressure because of a narrow focus on testing and lessons irrelevant to their lives. The urban high school teachers I know go to great lengths to be relevant and wish more students would worry at least a bit about exams. But like most American teens, those urban students can get by without doing much, and so do just that.

Abeles says she wants more authentic learning and imaginative teaching. That is the approach taken by imaginative urban educators like Deborah Meier, but it still requires significant homework.

Meier’s teachers assigned about 10 hours of studying beyond class time at her Central Park East Secondary School. If too much homework is, as the film says, a national problem, then don’t we have to conclude that it was wrong for Meier to insist her kids do so much more than what seems to be the national average of no more than an hour a night?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-race-to-nowhere-documentary-is-wrong/2011/04/03/AFBt27VC_blog.html

There are certain populations of children who will benefit from homework assignments.

Kenneth Goldberg, a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience, the author of “The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.” has written a Washington Post article about homework. In The homework trap and what to do about it Goldberg writes:

We know that people don’t spend large amounts of time engaging in tasks they do not do well. Yet, homework-trapped children are made to struggle for hours on end to get everything done. These children would be far better off if they were asked to work for a fixed amount of time (perhaps 10 minutes per night per grade) than to fall into an abyss of working all night to get every worksheet done.

The child, who is forced to keep on working without boundaries, will predictably learn how to avoid. Excessive homework pressures teach children to lie, forget, argue, and procrastinate. This eventually brings in the child study team, not to deal with learning problems, but because the child’s behavior has been bad. With that, the child may get sent to a different class or an alternative school where, voila, homework is no longer required. It’s an odd turn of events that these homework trapped children, who could have succeeded with some homework relief, only get that relief after they’ve acted out.

Because of this, I offer three very simple adjustments that are crucial for homework-trapped children, and which, frankly, I think should be policy for all. They are:

1. Time-bound homework. Just like school starts and stops by the clock, define homework as a fixed period of time. See what the child can do in a reasonable amount of time and work with that child on using the time well.

2. Reduced penalties. Zeros factored in 25 percent of the grade is too harsh of a penalty to alter behavior. Lesser consequences will prove more effective in both mobilizing the child and allowing the parent to approach the issue calmly.

3. Respect lines of authority. Teachers are in charge of their classrooms. Parents should tread lightly when it comes to telling them what to do. Parents are the people in charge of their homes; teachers should not tell parents how to organize their homes. Ultimately, when decisions are to be made about behaviors in the home (i.e. homework), the parent needs to be the one with the final say.

I am aware of the controversy over how much homework children should get. It’s an important debate but not the one I’m concerned with today. I’ll leave that to teachers, the experts in education, to figure out what makes the most sense. But in developing their models, it is critical for teachers to understand that homework assignments are using borrowed ground. Homework requires the tacit permission of the parents to allow it in their homes. While most parents will support the school in what it asks, they also need the power to withdraw that permission, if needed, without consequence to their child’s education.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-homework-trap-and-what-to-do-about-it/2012/04/05/gIQAJt9YyS_blog.html

Education is quite often a one-size-fits-all approach. Each population of children is different and education strategies MUST be designed to address the needs of the child. For some children whose backgrounds are not as enriched as others; it may mean homework is necessary to bring them up to grade level. Education programs must be tailored to the needs of each child.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©