It Benefits the System

Author Alfie Kohn (who is a thoughtful critic of school, though not an advocate of homeschooling or unschooling) adds another bit of research to the homework-isn’t-necessary file.

“If experience is any guide, however, many people will respond to these results by repeating platitudes about the importance of practice, or by complaining that anyone who doesn’t think kids need homework is coddling them and failing to prepare them for the “real world” (read: the pointless tasks they’ll be forced to do after they leave school). Those open to evidence, however, have been presented this Fall with yet another finding that fails to find any meaningful benefit even when the study is set up to give homework every benefit of the doubt.”

Okay, but no meaningful benefit to homework? Are you sure? Because it seems to me the meaningful benefit of assigning homework is quite clear: it reminds students and their families that the school has the right to follow the student home and intrude on their non-school hours. In doing so, school is indeed preparing students for the “real world,” one in which working “off the clock” is just part of the job.