The Homework Revolution | Teen Ink

The Homework Revolution MAG

June 12, 2009
By SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell


A young girl sits at her desk, reviewing her homework assignments for the evening. English: read three chapters and write a journal response. Math: complete 30 problems, showing all work. Science: do a worksheet, front and back. French: study vocabulary for tomorrow's test. It's going to be a long night.

This describes a typical weeknight for students across the country. Now is the time to start a homework revolution.

Do students in the United States receive too much homework? According to guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), a student should be assigned no more than 10 minutes per grade level per night. For example, a first grader should only have 10 minutes of homework, a second grader, 20 minutes, and so on. This means that a student in my grade – seventh – should have no more than 70 minutes of work each night. Yet this is often doubled, sometimes even tripled!

There are negatives to overloading students. Have you ever heard of a child getting sick because of homework? According to William Crain, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at City College of New York and the author of Reclaiming Childhood, “Kids are developing more school-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems, and depression than ever before.” The average student is glued to his or her desk for almost seven hours a day. Add two to four hours of homework each night, and they are working a 45- to 55-hour week!

In addition, a student who receives excessive homework “will miss out on active playtime, essential for learning social skills, proper brain development, and warding off childhood obesity,” according to Harris Cooper, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.

Everybody knows that teachers are the ones who assign homework, but they do not deserve all the blame. “Many teachers are under greater pressure than ever before,” says Kylene Beers, president of the National Council for Teachers of English and the author of When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can Do. “Some of it comes from parents, some from the administration and the desire for high scores on standardized tests.” Teachers who are under pressure feel the need to assign more homework. But why aren't teachers aware of the NEA homework recommendations? Many have never heard of them, have never taken a course about good versus bad homework, how much to give, and the research behind it. And many colleges of education do not offer specific training in homework. Teachers are just winging it.

Although some teachers and parents believe that assigning a lot of homework is beneficial, a Duke University review of a number of studies found almost no correlation between homework and long-term achievements in elementary school and only a moderate correlation in middle school. “More is not better,” concluded Cooper, who conducted the review.

Is homework really necessary? Most teachers assign homework as a drill to improve memorization of material. While drills and repetitive exercises have their place in schools, homework may not be that place. If a student does a math worksheet with 50 problems but completes them incorrectly, he will likely fail the test. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most math teachers can tell after checking five algebraic equations whether a student understood the necessary concepts. Practicing dozens of homework problems incorrectly only cements the wrong method.

Some teachers believe that assigning more homework will help improve standardized test scores. However, in countries like the Czech Republic, Japan, and Denmark, which have higher-scoring students, teachers give little homework. The United States is among the most homework-intensive countries in the world for seventh and eighth grade, so more homework clearly does not mean a higher test score.

Some people argue that homework toughens kids up for high school, college, and the workforce. Too much homework is sapping students' strength, curiosity, and most importantly, their love of learning. Is that really what teachers and parents want?

If schools assign less homework, it would benefit teachers, parents, and students alike. Teachers who assign large amounts of homework are often unable to do more than spot-check answers. This means that many errors are missed. Teachers who assign less homework will be able to check it thoroughly. In addition, it allows a teacher time to focus on more important things. “I had more time for planning when I wasn't grading thousands of problems a night,” says math teacher Joel Wazac at a middle school in Missouri. “And when a student didn't understand something, instead of a parent trying to puzzle it out, I was there to help them.” The result of assigning fewer math problems: grades went up and the school's standardized math scores are the highest they've ever been. A student who is assigned less homework will live a healthy and happy life. The family can look forward to stress-free, carefree nights and, finally, the teachers can too.

Some schools are already taking steps to improve the issue. For example, Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts, has limited homework, keeping to the “10 minute rule.” Raymond Park Middle School in Indianapolis has written a policy instructing teachers to “assign homework only when you feel the assignment is valuable.” The policy also states, “A night off is better than homework which serves no worthwhile purpose.” Others, such as Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park, California, have considered eliminating homework altogether. If these schools can do it, why can't everyone?

So, my fellow Americans, it's time to stop the insanity. It's time to start a homework revolution.



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This article has 818 comments.


on Nov. 5 2009 at 8:04 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

We can also gain that test level through less homework and strenous teaching. Just like Japan or the Czech republic.

on Nov. 5 2009 at 8:03 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Thanks. And you can help me spread the word!

on Nov. 5 2009 at 8:02 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Ah, but you see? There are some students who do study tremendously and get perfect grades and yet, they are ruining their lives. One of my friends is a top rated student, and her life is solely based on homework now and days. With tremendous amounts of stress, does it really matter where the US ranks? Doesn't the government care about the kids? You have to use logic here. Was I really only talking about test ranks? No. I was talking about the homework students recieve. Nothing more, nothing less.

on Nov. 5 2009 at 5:33 pm
PearlX PLATINUM, Ypsilanti, Michigan
25 articles 20 photos 18 comments
I don't think low test ranks in the US have to do with homework. It has to do with lazy students who avoid studying and education in contrast to playing video games for 10 hours straight. Okay, so Japanese students get little homework. Only because they go to school 6 days a week. 6 days = more studying. So again, my point is, if more students spent as much time on studying and education as they did texting their friends or uploading pics on myspace, then the US rank would increase TREMENDOUSLY.

padme BRONZE said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 5:22 pm
padme BRONZE, Garner, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"if not now, when"
mr. jon caldwell

i think it would work!

good luck!

on Nov. 5 2009 at 5:09 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

You know what?

I should make a petition!

padme BRONZE said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 4:57 pm
padme BRONZE, Garner, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"if not now, when"
mr. jon caldwell

i sincearly (sp) hope it works out for you. i'd sighn a petition if you had one or if i could. but i am rooting for you.

on Nov. 5 2009 at 4:52 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Thanks. ^^

I am at the moments trying to send it to my town newspaper, the New York Times, my state board of education, and the White House.

padme BRONZE said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 4:44 pm
padme BRONZE, Garner, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"if not now, when"
mr. jon caldwell

well, its what people need to know....teachers and school boards and such.

on Nov. 5 2009 at 4:42 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

I know what you mean, my friend. It is that type of situation that inspired me to write such an essay. It was originally meant for a homework assignment, but I never expected it would become so popular!

on Nov. 5 2009 at 4:39 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

That's the spirit!

Rismee123 said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 3:51 pm
yea i totally agree because i have always had an A in my english classes but since i have to cram my brain with things for all of my other junior high classesi am not getting as much time to study for my english science and my math

also i have no other time to myself exept for weekends if i have time ussually i am craming for another test on the next day so i can hardly sleep or study for the quizes i am to have the next day

another thing is that i do not get anoph sleep so i am alway syawning in class and once i almost fell asleep in my second class she called on me and i said the wrong answer and then she said that we had to do 50?!?! math problems all done for the next day

Rismee123 said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 3:29 pm
I hope we can get a school around my house like this then I would TOTALLY go there!!!!

I am goin to tell every one about this article so they can post what they think!!!

I think we should try and start our own

HOMEWORK REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rismee123 said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 3:25 pm
Awsome I totally agree with this even though I would love to have NO homework!!!

My brother and mom agree they spend almost 3 hours a night with homework so they are really tired then we have to eat

Even though I would luv!!!!!!!!! to have no homework it would be so much better to have only seven since I am in seventh and he is in fifth!!!!!!!!!!

on Nov. 3 2009 at 4:59 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Do you see the possibility of change? It's repulsive how many kids end up having to give up their beloved grade average to a non-worthy reason of non-completion. When you are a dedicated student, and you spend hours on end on homework, there must be something wrong. Alas, the teachers, the schools, the state ignore these liable facts.

padme BRONZE said...
on Nov. 3 2009 at 1:02 pm
padme BRONZE, Garner, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"if not now, when"
mr. jon caldwell

this is so true on so many levels. when i was in middle school, i had so much homework, my parents had to write to the teachers to get them to give me extra time. now im a senior, and i get little to no homework every night. my little sister in middle school has more homework then me.

on Jul. 2 2009 at 5:03 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Thanks for agreeing. We really need to act fast if we want this to end. Preach my essay to your fellow students and join the HOMEWORK REVOLUTION!

- Lauren M.

on Jun. 23 2009 at 6:59 pm
this article is so true. how many times have i seen my fellow physics classmates almost green on the day of the test or seen kids stumbling around like they are drunk because they only got three hours of sleep the night before. a friend of mine was with me when she completly collapsed becuase she had not gotten enough sleep and had not been taking care of herself? parents and school officials, as well as scientist, have commented on how much caffeine and how many energy drinks teens have but when we are trying to get by on two or three hours of sleep for god knows how long, while maintaining our 4 point GPAs and participating in extracurriculars, that is what it takes. we are going to be, and continue to be, a screwed up generation if this continues.