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there should be no homework debate

Are you down with or done with homework.

  • Posted January 17, 2012
  • By Lory Hough

Sign: Are you down with or done with homework?

The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.

It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.

This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.

"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.

Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.

But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.

The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.

For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.

But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.

Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?

"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."

Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.

Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?

"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."

Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.

"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."

Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."

One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.

"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.

Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.

As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."

That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."

These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.

"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."

Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.

"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.

Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.

And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."

Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.

"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."

The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.

"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"

Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.

"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"

Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."

According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."

So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.

"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."

Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.

"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."

So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.

Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.

"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."

Read a January 2014 update.

Homework Policy Still Going Strong

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Life, But Better - Relationships

Opinion: Your kid is right, homework is pointless. Here’s what you should do instead.

Kids homework

Editor’s Note: Elissa Strauss writes about the politics and culture of parenthood. The views expressed in this commentary are her own.

We live, for the most part, fairly similar lives to our next-door neighbors. Both households have two working parents, two kids and an appreciation for the way California weather affords them unscripted, outdoor play year-round.

We are all busier than we want to be, but our neighbors have an extra, unnecessary hurdle that makes life more difficult.

Next door, the kids have homework. This involves 30 minutes of child-wrangling and patience-testing five days a week, pressure-cooking the little downtime they have together as a family.

Meanwhile, our family takes that time to enjoy our kids. No efficiency, no productivity, no agenda; just parents and children hanging out.

There’s been a lot of research and debate on the academic value of homework for school-aged children. The results, although somewhat mixed, generally conclude that homework provides no advantage for kids in elementary grades. As children get older, the potential benefits of homework grow, but less than you probably think.

Texas teacher's no homework policy goes viral.

Too much homework? Not in this class. None at all. None all year

Missing from the homework conversation is how no-homework policies benefit the whole family – parents and caregivers included.

School schedules and cultures were created for a different time, when moms were expected to be available to children during non-school hours. But today, the majority of families have either dual-working or single parents. Reconfiguring the education system to adapt to this current reality is a big project. We need to accommodate for the fact that nobody’s home to watch kids after school and during holiday breaks, or to spend four hours building a “Bridge to Terabithia” diorama on a Thursday afternoon.

The remedy to this would likely involve an overhaul of our paid leave and vacation policies, as well as modifications to our daily and yearly school schedules. This is not a quick fix.

Ending homework for elementary school-aged kids is, on the other hand, relatively easy. We just have to stop doing it.

We need to do less

Feeling overwhelmed is a defining trait of today’s parents and caregivers. We have too much to do, our kids have too much to do, and leisure and happiness are the prices we pay for it.

One recent survey of 2,000 parents commissioned by Crayola Experience found that more than half of parents feel they are too busy to enjoy the fun of parenting. A similar number told Pew Research Center they struggle to balance the responsibilities of home with the responsibilities of a family. We feel guilty, and we feel tired. We lack the energy to make it through the week, let alone figure out how to get ourselves out of this mess.

01 kid screen time

Why we should stop calling it 'screen time' to our kids

When every minute is accounted for, sometimes two or three times over, a reprieve from something as seemingly minor as homework can make a big difference.

“The time families have together is really short; it is much shorter than what people would like. And when you are together everyone is fried,” said Brigid Schulte, author of “ Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time ” and director of the Better Life Lab . “If you are stressed and cranky, and your kid has been in aftercare too long, and then you get home and have to force them to do their homework, it removes the sense that home is a supportive, loving place where you can connect.”

Schulte encourages parents and caregivers to resist homework. This might include fighting for no-homework policies at their children’s schools, and pushing back against unrealistic homework assignments. Reach out to a teacher and tell them why a particular assignment is burdensome or causing unnecessary stress and, if this is the case, why your child won’t be able to meet the teacher’s expectations, she suggested.

“The most important thing is to look for small wins right now,” she said, referring to the battle against busyness. Gaining roughly 30 minutes a night, or two-plus hours a week, has the potential to make a dramatic difference in family well-being, giving us an opportunity to remember why exactly we had children in the first place.

Teach your children, and yourself, to do less

It can feel scary to slow down. Rising income inequality has turned parenting into a competitive sport. It’s a winner-takes-all world and we want our kids to be the winners — unhappy, stressed-out winners.

There is so much out there telling your children they need to do more and be more, and that whatever they think is enough is most definitely not enough. This means that parents and caregivers provide what is likely kids’ only shot at learning about leisure and togetherness. The overwhelming message from decades of research has found these are the main ingredients to happiness and well-being.

Holidays - Siblings arguing in the car during a long car journey

Summer isn't a break for kids or parents

Getting rid of homework is a relatively simple way to combat this high-stakes problem. It gives parents and caregivers the opportunity to teach their children these essential – albeit systematically ignored and undervalued – skills.

“Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school,” said Alfie Kohn, author of “ The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing .” “After all, we adults need time just to chill out; it’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.”

This isn’t to say that the downtime has to be mindless. Kohn suggests that parents and caregivers can, with their kids, cook, play board games, read or watch TV and then discuss what they read or watched. (Ideally, it’s something parents would enjoy as well.) All of these activities require logic or analytical skills, and can help uncover kids’ passions, as well as areas in which they might be struggling and need additional help.

0305 father kid phone RESTRICTED

Q: Am I a bad parent if I'm on my phone in front of my kids?

These activities can also help kids build the kind of skills we associate with homework, said Josh Cline, a public school teacher in Oakland, California. Perseverance and stamina, for example, are required to sit through a story and then discuss it, to complete a batch of brownies or play a game of checkers or chess. “It’s better to grow those skills doing things kids find interesting than forcing them to slog through worksheets,” he said. That said, if worksheets are your kid’s thing, Cline said to give them a shot — as long as it is clear they have a choice.

From an academic standpoint, Cline’s main interest is for kids to be reading at home. However, he says, forcing it is likely to backfire. Instead, parents and caregivers should try to encourage reading by giving their kids plenty of choices, and, whenever possible, integrating reading into a cozy routine (that may or may not include hot chocolate).

But ultimately, the best replacement for homework is, simply, a parent or caregiver’s attention.

“Spend time with them and see them as people. At school, they operate as a herd, and as hard as I try as a teacher, I can’t give them all the attention they deserve,” Cline said. “At home they should be seen as the unique, individual, interesting and brilliant people they are.”


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Should Kids Get Homework?

Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.

Mother helping son with homework at home

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful. (Getty Images)

How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.

Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.

But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.

Value of Homework

Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."

Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.

"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."

Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.

"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."

Negative Homework Assignments

Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.

But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.

Homework that's just busy work.

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.

"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.

Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.

" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.

But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.

Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.

"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."

Private vs. Public Schools

Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.

Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.

"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."

How to Address Homework Overload

First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.

"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."

But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.

"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."

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Tags: K-12 education , students , elementary school , children

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Is Homework a Waste of Time? Teachers Weigh In

there should be no homework debate

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The debate over homework rages on.

In response to an Opinion essay by a teacher titled “ What Do You Mean My Kid Doesn’t Have Homework? ”, many Facebook users took to the comments section to voice their perspectives on whether assigning homework is outdated and unnecessary—especially during a pandemic—or whether it’s a critical step to cultivating learning.

The benefits of homework have long been disputed, especially at the elementary school level. In 2018, Marva Hinton wrote about how homework was assigned at early grades and the potential effects on these young students. Some schools embraced homework, like Arlington Traditional School, a countywide elementary school in Arlington, Va., where kindergartners were expected to complete a minimum of 30 minutes of homework a night, Monday through Thursday. But some teachers such as Cathy Vatterott, a professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the author of Rethinking Homework worried that adjusting to school routines combined with homework could sour young students on school.

But what about the benefits for older students? In a 2019 article , Education Week Assistant Editor Stephen Sawchuk unpacked the results of a Center for American Progress analysis, which found that while much of the homework assigned to the students in the study aligned with the Common Core State Standards, it did not contribute to building more difficult skills called for in the standards, like analyzing or extending their knowledge to new problems.

Beyond considering the efficacy of homework, the debate over how much time students should spend daily on take-home assignments dates back to the early 1900s. The public furor even led some state lawmakers to ban homework entirely at one point. Multiple studies over the years have examined different angles of the homework debate, including just how much homework students were assigned. In 2003, a pair of national studies found that most American students spent less than an hour daily on homework, and the workload was no bigger than it was 50 years prior.

“There is this view in the popular media that there has been this terrible burden of homework on children, and that the homework is increasing,” said Tom Loveless, the director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution to Education Week’s Debra Viadero in a 2003 article . “That is not the case.”

Fast-forward to the present, teachers and students alike might find themselves at another crossroads in the homework debate. The pandemic brought with it the advent of strategies like “flipped learning” , which relies heavily on homework as an integral component of the lesson. While this might work for some, many students grew weary of the reliance on homework during remote and hybrid learning. This is on top of the potential equity issues arising from lack of internet access affecting students’ ability to complete the steady stream of homework being assigned, and the uptick in mental health issues in students .

So what do teachers really think about homework? Here’s what they had to say in response to the recently resurfaced essay by Samantha Hulsman.

A Disconnect Between Parents and Educators

“i teach 1st grade. i had parents ask for homework. i explained that i don’t give homework. home time is family time. time to play, cook, explore and spend time together. i do send books home, but there is no requirement or checklist for reading them. read them, enjoy them, and return them when your child is ready for more. i explained that as a parent myself, i know they are busy—and what a waste of energy it is to sit and force their kids to do work at home—when they could use that time to form relationships and build a loving home. something kids need more than a few math problems a week.”.

- Colleen S.

“I tried the ‘no homework’ policy one year and received so much pushback from my parents that I began sending home a weekly packet. I pass it out on Monday and it is due on Friday. Parents [are] happy, I’m happy, and life goes on. I say pick your battles. Now, I refuse to give packets over school breaks (winter/spring). If a parent asks, I simply tell them to have them work on any app that we use in class.”

“i literally only assign homework because some parents always make a huge deal of it if i don’t.”, “parents are the driving force behind homework ... they demand it and will complain about not receiving it even after explaining your philosophy of education and providing them with pedagogy that refutes the ‘benefits’ of it.”, homework can be useful for certain subjects or grades, “as a teacher of nearly 40 years, i believe homework has its place. especially in math math needs to be practiced to learn it. i don’t believe in giving homework just because. i think it should be purposeful.”.

- Sandra S.

“For those leading the charge against homework, please think about the expectation for students beyond your classroom. If you teach elementary school, will they be asked to do homework in middle school, high school, and beyond? If so, organization, time management, and study skills are not so easily learned at a later age, when the expectation has never been present. I can’t imagine being a student, who enters college, having never had the expectation of nightly HW.”

- Bobbie M.

Is Homework Actually Helpful for Learning?

Some agree that at its core, homework is practice, which is a needed element to achieving learning.

“Homework is practice. Practice the skills we learned about in class so we can review and add to them. My instrumental students are required to practice every day. When they don’t it’s evident.”

Others aren’t as convinced it’s actually a good tool for assessing comprehension.

“As a teacher, if the kids were assigned homework, guess when the papers were graded ... After discovering a Mom had been doing the homework and was making failing grades ... I gave it up ... taught 25 years without it and my students did much better ...”

- Martha H.

Heightens Equity Issues

“no homework ever it is unnecessary it is so elitist and ableist and teaches kids that it is expected to take work home after hours of a job. nope never”, “homework just further separates the students. those who have parents home who understand the work, or can afford a tutor will do so. families already struggling financially tend not to have parents home to help and cannot afford tutors.”.

- Rebecca J.

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Should homework be banned?

Social media has sparked into life about whether children should be given homework - should students be freed from this daily chore? Dr Gerald Letendre, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, investigates.

We’ve all done it: pretended to leave an essay at home, or stayed up until 2am to finish a piece of coursework we’ve been ignoring for weeks. Homework, for some people, is seen as a chore that’s ‘wrecking kids’ or ‘killing parents’, while others think it is an essential part of a well-rounded education. The problem is far from new: public debates about homework have been raging since at least the early-1900s, and recently spilled over into a Twitter feud between Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan.

Ironically, the conversation surrounding homework often ignores the scientific ‘homework’ that researchers have carried out. Many detailed studies have been conducted, and can guide parents, teachers and administrators to make sensible decisions about how much work should be completed by students outside of the classroom.

So why does homework stir up such strong emotions? One reason is that, by its very nature, it is an intrusion of schoolwork into family life. I carried out a study in 2005, and found that the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school, from nursery right up to the end of compulsory education, has greatly increased over the last century . This means that more of a child’s time is taken up with education, so family time is reduced. This increases pressure on the boundary between the family and the school.

Plus, the amount of homework that students receive appears to be increasing, especially in the early years when parents are keen for their children to play with friends and spend time with the family.

Finally, success in school has become increasingly important to success in life. Parents can use homework to promote, or exercise control over, their child’s academic trajectory, and hopefully ensure their future educational success. But this often leaves parents conflicted – they want their children to be successful in school, but they don’t want them to be stressed or upset because of an unmanageable workload.

François Hollande says homework is unfair, as it penalises children who have a difficult home environment © Getty Images

However, the issue isn’t simply down to the opinions of parents, children and their teachers – governments also like to get involved. In the autumn of 2012, French president François Hollande hit world headlines after making a comment about banning homework, ostensibly because it promoted inequality. The Chinese government has also toyed with a ban, because of concerns about excessive academic pressure being put on children.

The problem is, some politicians and national administrators regard regulatory policy in education as a solution for a wide array of social, economic and political issues, perhaps without considering the consequences for students and parents.

Does homework work?

Homework seems to generally have a positive effect for high school students, according to an extensive range of empirical literature. For example, Duke University’s Prof Harris Cooper carried out a meta-analysis using data from US schools, covering a period from 1987 to 2003. He found that homework offered a general beneficial impact on test scores and improvements in attitude, with a greater effect seen in older students. But dig deeper into the issue and a complex set of factors quickly emerges, related to how much homework students do, and exactly how they feel about it.

In 2009, Prof Ulrich Trautwein and his team at the University of Tübingen found that in order to establish whether homework is having any effect, researchers must take into account the differences both between and within classes . For example, a teacher may assign a good deal of homework to a lower-level class, producing an association between more homework and lower levels of achievement. Yet, within the same class, individual students may vary significantly in how much homework improves their baseline performance. Plus, there is the fact that some students are simply more efficient at completing their homework than others, and it becomes quite difficult to pinpoint just what type of homework, and how much of it, will affect overall academic performance.

Over the last century, the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school has greatly increased

Gender is also a major factor. For example, a study of US high school students carried out by Prof Gary Natriello in the 1980s revealed that girls devote more time to homework than boys, while a follow-up study found that US girls tend to spend more time on mathematics homework than boys. Another study, this time of African-American students in the US, found that eighth grade (ages 13-14) girls were more likely to successfully manage both their tasks and emotions around schoolwork, and were more likely to finish homework.

So why do girls seem to respond more positively to homework? One possible answer proposed by Eunsook Hong of the University of Nevada in 2011 is that teachers tend to rate girls’ habits and attitudes towards work more favourably than boys’. This perception could potentially set up a positive feedback loop between teacher expectations and the children’s capacity for academic work based on gender, resulting in girls outperforming boys. All of this makes it particularly difficult to determine the extent to which homework is helping, though it is clear that simply increasing the time spent on assignments does not directly correspond to a universal increase in learning.

Can homework cause damage?

The lack of empirical data supporting homework in the early years of education, along with an emerging trend to assign more work to this age range, appears to be fuelling parental concerns about potential negative effects. But, aside from anecdotes of increased tension in the household, is there any evidence of this? Can doing too much homework actually damage children?

Evidence suggests extreme amounts of homework can indeed have serious effects on students’ health and well-being. A Chinese study carried out in 2010 found a link between excessive homework and sleep disruption: children who had less homework had better routines and more stable sleep schedules. A Canadian study carried out in 2015 by Isabelle Michaud found that high levels of homework were associated with a greater risk of obesity among boys, if they were already feeling stressed about school in general.

For useful revision guides and video clips to assist with learning, visit BBC Bitesize . This is a free online study resource for UK students from early years up to GCSEs and Scottish Highers.

It is also worth noting that too much homework can create negative effects that may undermine any positives. These negative consequences may not only affect the child, but also could also pile on the stress for the whole family, according to a recent study by Robert Pressman of the New England Centre for Pediatric Psychology. Parents were particularly affected when their perception of their own capacity to assist their children decreased.

What then, is the tipping point, and when does homework simply become too much for parents and children? Guidelines typically suggest that children in the first grade (six years old) should have no more that 10 minutes per night, and that this amount should increase by 10 minutes per school year. However, cultural norms may greatly affect what constitutes too much.

A study of children aged between 8 and 10 in Quebec defined high levels of homework as more than 30 minutes a night, but a study in China of children aged 5 to 11 deemed that two or more hours per night was excessive. It is therefore difficult to create a clear standard for what constitutes as too much homework, because cultural differences, school-related stress, and negative emotions within the family all appear to interact with how homework affects children.

Should we stop setting homework?

In my opinion, even though there are potential risks of negative effects, homework should not be banned. Small amounts, assigned with specific learning goals in mind and with proper parental support, can help to improve students’ performance. While some studies have generally found little evidence that homework has a positive effect on young children overall, a 2008 study by Norwegian researcher Marte Rønning found that even some very young children do receive some benefit. So simply banning homework would mean that any particularly gifted or motivated pupils would not be able to benefit from increased study. However, at the earliest ages, very little homework should be assigned. The decisions about how much and what type are best left to teachers and parents.

As a parent, it is important to clarify what goals your child’s teacher has for homework assignments. Teachers can assign work for different reasons – as an academic drill to foster better study habits, and unfortunately, as a punishment. The goals for each assignment should be made clear, and should encourage positive engagement with academic routines.

Parents who play an active role in homework routines can help give their kids a more positive experience of learning © Getty Images

Parents should inform the teachers of how long the homework is taking, as teachers often incorrectly estimate the amount of time needed to complete an assignment, and how it is affecting household routines. For young children, positive teacher support and feedback is critical in establishing a student’s positive perception of homework and other academic routines. Teachers and parents need to be vigilant and ensure that homework routines do not start to generate patterns of negative interaction that erode students’ motivation.

Likewise, any positive effects of homework are dependent on several complex interactive factors, including the child’s personal motivation, the type of assignment, parental support and teacher goals. Creating an overarching policy to address every single situation is not realistic, and so homework policies tend to be fixated on the time the homework takes to complete. But rather than focusing on this, everyone would be better off if schools worked on fostering stronger communication between parents, teachers and students, allowing them to respond more sensitively to the child’s emotional and academic needs.

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Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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No More Homework: 12 Reasons We Should Get Rid of It Completely

Last Updated: December 15, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Finn Kobler . Finn Kobler graduated from USC in 2022 with a BFA in Writing for Screen/Television. He is a two-time California State Champion and record holder in Original Prose/Poetry, a 2018 finalist for the Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and he's written micro-budget films that have been screened in over 150 theaters nationwide. Growing up, Finn spent every summer helping his family's nonprofit arts program, Showdown Stage Company, empower people through accessible media. He hopes to continue that mission with his writing at wikiHow. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 70,276 times. Learn more...

The amount of homework students are given has increased dramatically in the 21st century, which has sparked countless debates over homework’s overall value. While some have been adamant that homework is an essential part of a good education, it’s been proven that too much homework negatively affects students’ mood, classroom performance, and overall well-being. In addition, a heavy homework load can stress families and teachers. Here are 12 reasons why homework should be banned (or at least heavily reduced).

School is already a full-time job.

Students already spend approximately seven hours a day at school.

  • For years, teachers have followed the “10-minute rule” giving students roughly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. However, recent studies have shown students are completing 3+ hours of homework a night well before their senior years even begin. [2] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Homework negatively affects students’ health.

Homework takes a toll physically.

Homework interferes with student’s opportunities to socialize.

Childhood and adolescence are extraordinary times for making friends.

Homework hinders students’ chances to learn new things.

Students need time to self-actualize.

Homework lowers students’ enthusiasm for school.

Homework makes the school feel like a chore.

Homework can lower academic performance.

Homework is unnecessary and counterproductive for high-performing students.

Homework cuts into family time.

Too much homework can cause family structures to collapse.

Homework is stressful for teachers.

Homework can also lead to burnout for teachers.

Homework is often irrelevant and punitive.

Students who don’t understand the lesson get no value from homework.

  • There are even studies that have shown homework in primary school has no correlation with classroom performance whatsoever. [9] X Research source

Homework encourages cheating.

Mandatory homework makes cheating feel like students’ only option.

Homework is inequitable.

Homework highlights the achievement gap between rich and poor students.

Other countries have banned homework with great results.

Countries like Finland have minimal homework and perform well academically.

  • There are even some U.S. schools that have adopted this approach with success. [13] X Research source

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  • ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/no-proven-benefits
  • ↑ https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/homework
  • ↑ https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/health-hazards-homework/
  • ↑ https://teensneedsleep.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/galloway-nonacademic-effects-of-homework-in-privileged-high-performing-high-schools.pdf
  • ↑ https://time.com/4466390/homework-debate-research/
  • ↑ https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220485.2022.2075506?role=tab&scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=vece20
  • ↑ https://kappanonline.org/teacher-stress-balancing-demands-resources-mccarthy/
  • ↑ https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-life-homework-pros-cons-20180807-story.html
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6294446/
  • ↑ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/homework-inequality-parents-schedules-grades/485174/
  • ↑ https://www.bbc.com/news/education-37716005
  • ↑ https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-homework-its-the-new-thing-in-u-s-schools-11544610600

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The Pros and Cons of Homework


Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  energepic.com  from  Pexels

Why should students have homework, 1. homework encourages practice.

Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.

A female student who doesn’t want to do homework.

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework.

While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom.

Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.

The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements.

It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity.

Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however.

On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.

The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.

It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.

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21 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

homework pros and cons

The homework debate has strong arguments on both sides. Commonly-cited reasons why homework should be banned include the idea that it is often counterproductive, stifles students’ creativity, and limits their freedom outside the classroom.

Students already have up to 7 hours of schoolwork to complete 5 days a week; adding more contributes to increased anxiety, burnout, and overall poor performance.

But arguments for homework include the fact it does increase student grades (Cooper, Robinson & Patall, 2006), it instils discipline, and it helps to reinforce what was learned into long-term memory.

The following are common arguments for banning homework – note that this is an article written to stimulate debate points on the topic, so it only presents one perspective. For the other side of the argument, it’s worth checking out my article on the 27 pros and cons of homework .

Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. it contributes to increased anxiety.

If there’s one word that describes middle-school and high-school students, it’s anxiety. In my homework statistics article , I cite research showing that 74% of students cite homework as a source of stress.

They have so much to juggle, from the novelty of adolescence to the realization that they must soon start preparing for college and their life after (Pressman et al., 2015).

It’s a lot to manage, and adding homework that reduces their free time and makes them even more restricted is downright harmful. The natural outcome of this dogpile of pressure is anxiety, and many students often feel overwhelmed, both by the hours and hours of coursework in a day and the extensive homework they are assigned (Galloway, Conner & Pope, 2013).

Because teachers often don’t communicate with one another over curricula, major assignments can overlap such that students have to tackle numerous large projects at once, which contributes to severe anxiety over good grades.

In response to this, some students check out of school entirely, letting their academic future go to waste. While, of course, it’s not fair to strawman and say that homework is to blame for all these cases, it may indeed by a contributing factor.

2. It Offers Less Social Time

Homework cuts out free time. Children already spend the better part of their day learning in a school environment, and when they come home, they need to socialize.

Whether it’s family or friends, a social balance is important. Depending on the coursework they’re assigned, homework can detrimentally affect students’ social life, which feed back into more of our first gripe about homework: its anxiety-inducing nature.

Furthermore, social time is extremely important for children to grow up well-balanced and confident. If a child is highly intelligent (book smart) but lacks to social skills we might call street smarts , they may struggle in adulthood.

3. It Detracts from Play Time

Play is extremely important for children’s physical, social, and cognitive development . In fact, children naturally learn through play .

So, when children get home from school, they need a few hours to play. They’re actually learning when playing! If playing with friends, they’re learning social skills; but playing alone also stimulates creative and analytical thinking skills.

Play is also a different type of learning than the learning that commonly happens at school. So, allowing children to play at home gives their brain a break from ‘school learning’ and lets them learn through active and even relaxing methods.

4. It Discourages Physical Exercise and Contributes to Obesity

Exercise is an important part of life for everyone, but especially for children. Developing a positive self-image and disciplining oneself is an important skill to learn, one that becomes much more difficult when homework is in the picture.

Homework can demand a lot of attention that kids could be spending exercising or socializing. These two important life pursuits can be left by the wayside, leaving students feeling confused, depressed, and anxious about the future.

Physical exercise should be considered a key feature of a child’s holistic development. It helps keep children healthy, can reduce anxiety, and support healthy immune systems. It also helps with physical development such as supporting fine and gross motor skills .

In fact, some scholars (Ren et al., 2017) have even identified excessive homework as a contributing factor for childhood obesity.

5. It Disrupts Sleep Patterns

Everyone knows the trope of a college student staying up late to finish their homework or cram for a test.

While it would be unfair to credit homework exclusively for an unhealthy sleep schedule, the constant pressure to finish assignments on time often yields one of two results.

Students can either burn the midnight oil to make sure their homework is done, or they can check out of school entirely and ignore their academic interests. Neither is an acceptable way to live.

This point is particularly pertinent to teenagers. They are not lazy; teens need 12-13 hours of sleep every day because their bodies are changing so dramatically.

To pile additional homework on them that interferes with the circadian rhythm is not just unhelpful—it may be downright harmful (Yeo et al., 2020).

6. It Involves Less Guidance

If there’s one thing that’s beneficial about the in-person learning experience, it’s the ability to raise one’s hand and let the teacher know when something is unclear or difficult to understand.

That handheld process isn’t available for homework; in fact, homework matters little in the grand scheme of learning. It’s just busywork that’s supposed to help students consolidate their knowledge.

In reality, homework becomes something that students resent and can fill them with feelings of frustration—something that would be much more readily addressed if the same content was covered in-person with a teacher to guide the student through the assignment.

7. It’s Regularly Rote Learning

In most subjects, homework isn’t reflective of the skills students need to learn to thrive in the workforce. Instead, it often simply involves rote learning (repetition of tasks) that is not seen as the best way to learn.

A main goal of education is to train up vocational professionals with defined skills. But more often than not, homework winds up as a bland set of word problems that have no basis in the real world.

Walking through real-world examples under the guidance of a teacher is much more beneficial to student learning.

8. It Can Detract from a Love of Learning

If you know what it’s like to doze off during a boring class or meeting, then you can relate to the difficulty students have paying attention in class.

That motivation starts to dwindle when students must complete assignments on their own time, often under immense pressure.

It’s not a healthy way to inspire kids to learn about different subjects and develop a love of learning.

Students already need to sit through hours and hours of class on end in-person. This learning time should be used more effectively to eliminate the need for home.

When children finally get out of class at the end of the day, they need to socialize and exercise, not spend even longer staring at a book to complete a bunch of unhelpful practice questions.

9. It Convolutes the Subject

Another important consideration about homework is that it can often be counterproductive.

That’s because teachers don’t always use the full curriculum material for their teaching, and they may choose to develop their own homework rather than to use the resources offered by the curriculum provider.

This homework can often be off-subject, extremely niche, or unhelpful in explaining a subject that students are studying.

Students who don’t understand a subject and don’t have resources to rely on will eventually give up. That risk becomes even more prevalent when you factor in the scope, complexity, and type of assignment.

Students need to be taught in a safe environment where they can feel free to ask questions and learn at their own pace. Of course, there’s no fairytale way to perfect this ideal, but what is clear is that homework is not beneficial to the learning environment for many students.

10. It’s Not What Kids Want

Lastly, homework should be banned because it’s generally not what students want. From elementary to college level, most students harbor some sort of resentment towards homework.

It might be easy to dismiss this to say that the students “aren’t living in the real world.” The truth of the matter is that the real world is a lot more nuanced, creative, and diverse than the repetitive, broad, and often stagnant homework.

It’s easy to understand why most students wish that more time in school had been spent on learning how to live rather than trying to figure out how many apples Johnny had. Subjects like car maintenance, entrepreneurship, computer skills, socialization, networking, tax filing, finances, and survival are touched on at best and ignored at worst.

It’s not enough for students to be able to regurgitate information on a piece of paper; in the end, the education system should teach them how to be self-sufficient, something that might be much easier to do if resources were divested from homework and poured into more beneficial subject material.

Consider these 11 Additional Reasons

  • Decreases time with parents – Homework may prevent parents and children from spending quality time together.
  • Hidden costs – Families often feel pressure to purchase internet and other resources to help their children to complete their homework.
  • Is inequitable – some children have parents to help them while others don’t. Similarly, some children have internet access to help while others don’t (see: Kralovec & Buell, 2001).
  • Easy to cheat – Unsupervised homework time makes it easy for children to simply cheat on their work so they can get on with play time!
  • Lack of downtime – Children need time where they aren’t doing anything. Time that is unstructured helps them to develop hobbies and interests .
  • Detracts from reading – Children could be spending their time reading books and developing their imaginations rather than working on repetitive homework tasks.
  • Take up parental time – Parents, who have just spent all day working, are increasingly expected to spend their time doing ‘teaching’ with their children at home.
  • Discourages club membership – If children are too busy with homework, they may not be able to join clubs and sporting groups that can help them make friends and develop extracurricular skills.
  • Makes it hard for college students to make a living – In college, where homework is extensive, students often can’t juggle homework with their weekend and night-time jobs. As a result, it pushes them further into student poverty.
  • Contributes to poor work-life culture – From early ages, we’re sending a message to children that they should take their work home with them. This can spill over into the workplace, where they’ll be expected to continue working for their company even after the workday ends.
  • Can reinforce faulty learning – When children learn in isolation during homework time, they may end up practicing their work completely wrong! They need intermittent support to make sure their practice is taking them down the right path.

Students may need to demonstrate their understanding of a topic to progress; that, at least, is a reflection of the real world. What’s not helpful is when students are peppered day and night with information that they need to regurgitate on a piece of paper.

For positive outcomes to come from homework, parents and teachers need to work together. It depends a lot on the type of homework provided as well as the age of the student and the need to balance homework with time to do other things in your life.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003.  Review of educational research ,  76 (1), 1-62.

Galloway, M., Conner, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools.  The journal of experimental education ,  81 (4), 490-510. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.745469

Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2001).  The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning . Beacon Press.

Pressman, R. M., Sugarman, D. B., Nemon, M. L., Desjarlais, J., Owens, J. A., & Schettini-Evans, A. (2015). Homework and family stress: With consideration of parents’ self confidence, educational level, and cultural background.  The American Journal of Family Therapy ,  43 (4), 297-313. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1061407

Ren, H., Zhou, Z., Liu, W., Wang, X., & Yin, Z. (2017). Excessive homework, inadequate sleep, physical inactivity and screen viewing time are major contributors to high paediatric obesity.  Acta Paediatrica ,  106 (1), 120-127. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13640

Yeo, S. C., Tan, J., Lo, J. C., Chee, M. W., & Gooley, J. J. (2020). Associations of time spent on homework or studying with nocturnal sleep behavior and depression symptoms in adolescents from Singapore.  Sleep Health ,  6 (6), 758-766. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2020.04.011


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The dreaded word for students across the country—homework. 

Homework has long been a source of debate, with parents, educators, and education specialists debating the advantages of at-home study. There are many pros and cons of homework. We’ve examined a few significant points to provide you with a summary of the benefits and disadvantages of homework.

Check Out The Pros and Cons of Homework

homework pro and cons

Pro 1: Homework Helps to Improve Student Achievement

Homework teaches students various beneficial skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and professional life, from time management and organization to self-motivation and autonomous learning. 

Homework helps students of all ages build critical study abilities that help them throughout their academic careers. Learning at home also encourages the development of good research habits while encouraging students to take ownership of their tasks.

If you’re finding that homework is becoming an issue at home, check out this article to learn how to tackle them before they get out of hand.

Con 1: Too Much Homework Can Negatively Affect Students 

You’ll often hear from students that they’re stressed out by schoolwork. Stress becomes even more apparent as students get into higher grade levels. 

A study conducted on high school student’s experiences found that high-achieving students found that too much homework leads to sleep deprivation and other health problems such as: 

  • Weight loss 
  • Stomach problems 

More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies.

It’s been shown that excessive homework can lead to cheating. With too much homework, students end up copying off one another in an attempt to finish all their assignments.

Pro 2: Homework Helps to Reinforce Classroom Learning

Homework is most effective when it allows students to revise what they learn in class. Did you know that students typically retain only 50% of the information teachers provide in class?

Students need to apply that information to learn it.

Homework also helps students develop key skills that they’ll use throughout their lives: 

  • Accountability 
  • Time management
  • Self-direction
  • Critical thinking
  • Independent problem-solving

The skills learned in homework can then be applied to other subjects and practical situations in students’ daily lives.

Con 2: Takes Away From Students Leisure Time

Children need free time. This free time allows children to relax and explore the world that they are living in. This free time also gives them valuable skills they wouldn’t learn in a classroom, such as riding a bike, reading a book, or socializing with friends and family. 

Having leisure time teaches kids valuable skills that cannot be acquired when doing their homework at a computer.

Plus, students need to get enough exercise. Getting exercise can improve cognitive function, which might be hindered by sedentary activities such as homework.

Pro 3: Homework Gets Parents Involved with Children’s Learning

Homework helps parents track what their children are learning in school. 

Also allows parents to see what their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses are. Homework can alert parents to any learning difficulties that their children might have, enabling them to provide assistance and modify their child’s learning approach as necessary.

Parents who help their children with homework will lead to higher academic performance, better social skills and behaviour, and greater self-confidence in their children.

Con 3: Homework Is Not Always Effective

Numerous researchers have attempted to evaluate the importance of homework and how it enhances academic performance. According to a study , homework in primary schools has a minimal effect since students pursue unrelated assignments instead of solidifying what they have already learned.

Mental health experts agree heavy homework loads have the capacity to do more harm than good for students. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether. So, unfortunately for students, homework is here to stay.

You can learn more about the pro and cons of homework here.

Need Help with Completing Homework Effectively?  

There are many pros and cons of homework, so let our tutors at Oxford Learning can help your family create great homework habits to ensure students are successful at homework.

Contact a location near you to get started today!

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Homework vs. No Homework Is the Wrong Question

Does your school have a homework policy? How does your school ensure that teachers don’t overload students with busy work?

Two young boys wearing backpacks rushing down the front steps of school

The real question we should be asking is, "What do we believe should happen after the end of the school day to help ensure that students retain what they have learned and are primed to learn more?" Any answer with the word, "work" in its name, as in "homework," is not typically going to be met with eagerness or enthusiasm by students.

Ideally, we want children to understand that they are always learners. In school, we refer to them as "students" but outside of school, as children, they are still learners. So it makes no sense to even advertise a "no homework" policy in a school. It sends the wrong message. The policy should be, "No time-wasting, rote, repetitive tasks will be assigned that lack clear instructional or learning purposes."

A realistic homework strategy should be a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year. But it should also reflect a considered school policy and not simply be up to each individual teacher to carry out according to his or own theory of student learning. Another advantage of this approach is to ensure that individual children are not inadvertently overloaded with demands from teachers who may not know what other teachers are asking of the same student. This is a particular concern in secondary schools.

Home Activities That Matter the Most

Children should be encouraged to read, write, perform arithmetic, better understand the world around them in terms of civics, science, and the arts, and, of course, develop their people skills -- their emotional intelligence. This encouragement should be part of everyday family interactions outside of school, and the school should provide developmental guidance to all parents, in the appropriate languages, to help them do this. For some children, specialized guidance will be needed, and this, too, should be provided proactively to parents.

Some parents will select focused programs or after-school experiences to help foster their children's learning in one or more of the aforementioned areas. To promote equity within and across schools, communities should think about how to make these kinds of experiences available to all children in high-quality ways -- without undue or unrealistic expense to families.

Of course, some teachers will have specific, creative ideas about how learning can be enhanced at home, in the context of particular units of study in school. Maybe what we need is a new word for all this. Instead of "homework," how about "continued learning" or "ongoing growth activities?"

Parents Playing Their Part

Finally, students' learning would be greatly enhanced by schools taking a clear stance about supporting good parenting. My colleague Yoni Schwab and I have written about the importance of parents focusing on parenting as a priority, and secondarily working on assisting schools with educational issues (Elias, M. J., and Schwab, Y., 2004).

Aspects of good parenting that could be encouraged by schools include workshops, family nights, and discussion series on ways to promote:

  • Children's social-emotional and character development
  • Parents spending more time directly interacting with their kids in enjoyable ways
  • Parents visibly showing how much they value the importance of education and effort
  • Parents monitoring their children's use of and exposure to electronic media
  • Children's "continued learning" in as many possible opportunities during everyday household routines
  • Above all, schools should remind parents to never lose sight of modeling for their children the value of close relationships, support, caring, and fun. That is the most important home work of all.

Elias, M. J., and Schwab, Y. (2004). What About Parental Involvement in Parenting? The Case for Home-Focused School-Parent Partnerships. Education Week, 24 (8), 39,41.

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Should Students Have Homework?

there should be no homework debate

by Suzanne Capek Tingley, Veteran Educator, M.A. Degree

A student stares down a huge stack of homework.

Look before you leap at giving to much or to little homework.

It used to be that students were the only ones complaining about the practice of assigning homework. For years, teachers and parents thought that homework was a necessary tool when educating children. But studies about the effectiveness of homework have been conflicting and inconclusive, leading some adults to argue that homework should become a thing of the past.

What Research Says about Homework

According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a "10 minute rule" : students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 additional minutes each subsequent year, so that by twelfth grade they are completing 120 minutes of homework daily.

there should be no homework debate

But his analysis didn't prove that students did better because they did homework; it simply showed a correlation . This could simply mean that kids who do homework are more committed to doing well in school. Cooper also found that some research showed that homework caused physical and emotional stress, and created negative attitudes about learning. He suggested that more research needed to be done on homework's effect on kids.

Further reading: Get Homework Done and Turned In

Some researchers say that the question isn't whether kids should have homework. It's more about what kind of homework students have and how much. To be effective, homework has to meet students' needs. For example, some middle school teachers have found success with online math homework that's adapted to each student's level of understanding. But when middle school students were assigned more than an hour and a half of homework, their math and science test scores went down .

Researchers at Indiana University discovered that math and science homework may improve standardized test grades, but they found no difference in course grades between students who did homework and those who didn't. These researchers theorize that homework doesn't result in more content mastery, but in greater familiarity with the kinds of questions that appear on standardized tests. According to Professor Adam Maltese, one of the study's authors, "Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be."

So while many teachers and parents support daily homework, it's hard to find strong evidence that the long-held practice produces positive results.

Problems with Homework

In an article in Education Week Teacher , teacher Samantha Hulsman said she's frequently heard parents complain that a 30-minute homework assignment turns into a three-hour battle with their kids. Now, she's facing the same problem with her own kids, which has her rethinking her former beliefs about homework. "I think parents expect their children to have homework nightly, and teachers assign daily homework because it's what we've always done," she explained. Today, Hulsman said, it's more important to know how to collaborate and solve problems than it is to know specific facts.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish wrote in Psychology Today that battles over homework rarely result in a child's improvement in school . Children who don't do their homework are not lazy, he said, but they may be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious. And for kids with learning disabilities, homework is like "running with a sprained ankle. It's doable, but painful."

Barish suggests that parents and kids have a "homework plan" that limits the time spent on homework. The plan should include turning off all devices—not just the student's, but those belonging to all family members.

One of the best-known critics of homework, Alfie Kohn , says that some people wrongly believe "kids are like vending machines—put in an assignment, get out learning." Kohn points to the lack of evidence that homework is an effective learning tool; in fact, he calls it "the greatest single extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented."

Homework Bans

Last year, the public schools in Marion County, Florida, decided on a no-homework policy for all of their elementary students . Instead, kids read nightly for 20 minutes. Superintendent Heidi Maier said the decision was based on Cooper's research showing that elementary students gain little from homework, but a lot from reading.

Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, Vermont, followed the same path, substituting reading for homework. The homework policy has four parts : read nightly, go outside and play, have dinner with your family, and get a good night's sleep. Principal Mark Trifilio says that his staff and parents support the idea.

But while many elementary schools are considering no-homework policies, middle schools and high schools have been reluctant to abandon homework. Schools say parents support homework and teachers know it can be helpful when it is specific and follows certain guidelines. For example, practicing solving word problems can be helpful, but there's no reason to assign 50 problems when 10 will do. Recognizing that not all kids have the time, space, and home support to do homework is important, so it shouldn't be counted as part of a student's grade.

Further reading: Balancing Extracurriculars with Homework in High School

So Should Students Have Homework?

Should you ban homework in your classroom? If you teach lower grades, it's possible. If you teach middle or high school, probably not. But all teachers should think carefully about their homework policies. By limiting the amount of homework and improving the quality of assignments, you can improve learning outcomes for your students.


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Suzanne Capek Tingley

Suzanne Capek Tingley started as a high school English/Spanish teacher, transitioned to middle school, and eventually became a principal, superintendent, and adjunct professor in education administration at the State University of New York. She is the author of the funny, but practical book for teachers, How to Handle Difficult Parents (Prufrock Press). Her work has appeared in many publications including Education Week, and her blog, Practical Leadership, was featured on the Scholastic website. She has been a presenter and consultant, and with Magna Publications she developed videos on demand highlighting successful strategies for classroom teachers. Among her honors is a Woman of Distinction Award from the New York State Senate. She is a strong believer that all kids can learn and that teaching requires art, skill, and a good sense of humor.

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The Homework Debate: The Case Against Homework

This post has been updated as of December 2017.

It’s not uncommon to hear students, parents, and even some teachers always complaining about homework. Why, then, is homework an inescapable part of the student experience? Worksheets, busy work, and reading assignments continue to be a mainstay of students’ evenings.

Whether from habit or comparison with out-of-class work time in other nations, our students are getting homework and, according to some of them, a LOT of it. Educators and policy makers must ask themselves—does assigning homework pay off?

Is there evidence that homework benefits students younger than high school?

The Scholastic article Is Homework Bad? references Alfie Kohn’s book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , in which he says, “There is no evidence to demonstrate that homework benefits students below high school age.”

The article goes on to note that those who oppose homework focus on the drawbacks of significant time spent on homework, identifying one major negative as homework’s intrusion into family time. They also point out that opponents believe schools have decided homework is necessary and thus assign it simply to assign some kind of homework, not because doing the work meets specifically-identified student needs.

“Busy work” does not help students learn

Students and parents appear to carry similar critiques of homework, specifically regarding assignments identified as busy work—long sheets of repetitive math problems, word searches, or reading logs seemingly designed to make children dislike books.

When asked how homework can negatively affect children, Nancy Kalish, author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It , says that many homework assignments are “simply busy work” that makes learning “a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience.”

Commenters on the piece, both parents and students, tended to agree. One student shared that on occasion they spent more time on homework than at school, while another commenter pointed out that, “We don’t give slow-working children a longer school day, but we consistently give them a longer homework day.”

Without feedback, homework is ineffective

The efficacy of the homework identified by Kalish has been studied by policy researchers as well. Gerald LeTendre, of Penn State’s Education Policy Studies department points out that the shotgun approach to homework, when students all receive the same photocopied assignment which is then checked as complete rather than discussed individually with the student, is “not very effective.”  He goes on to say that, “If there’s no feedback and no monitoring, the homework is probably not effective.”

Researchers from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia had similar findings in their study, “ When Is Homework Worth The Time ?” According to UVAToday, these researchers reported no “substantive difference” in the grades of students related to homework completion.

As researcher Adam Maltese noted, “Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be.” The report further suggested that while not all homework is bad, the type and quality of assignments and their differentiation to specific learners appears to be an important point of future research.

If homework is assigned, it should heighten understanding of the subject

The Curry School of Education report did find a positive association between standardized test performance and time spent on homework, but standardized test performance shouldn’t be the end goal of assignments—a heightened understanding and capability with the content material should.

As such, it is important that if/when teachers assign homework assignments, it is done thoughtfully and carefully—and respectful of the maximum times suggested by the National Education Association, about 10 minutes per night starting in the first grade, with an additional 10 minutes per year after.

Continue reading — The Homework Debate: How Homework Benefits Students

Monica Fuglei is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a current adjunct faculty member of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado, where she teaches composition and creative writing.

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GOP debate fact check: What Haley, Ramaswamy, other Republican candidates got wrong

Amid a flurry of attacks in tonight's final GOP presidential debate, many of the candidates' claims were misleading or flat wrong.

Here's what the USA TODAY Fact Check Team found on some of the most noteworthy claims from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

More from the USA TODAY Fact-Check Team:

  • Guidelines:   How we identify, research and rate claims
  • Newsletter:   Sign up for Checking the Facts; truth delivered daily to your inbox
  • Facebook:   Like our page to get our latest debunks throughout the day

Vivek Ramaswamy claim: Climate change is a hoax

“The climate change agenda is a hoax because it has nothing to do with the climate. … 98% reduction in climate disaster-related deaths in the last century. Eight times as many people are going to die of cold temperatures this year than warm ones."

This is inaccurate on multiple counts. 

The hoax claim is wrong: The vast majority of climate scientists (97%) agree that human activity is causing climate change, which in turn has caused an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. 

And a decrease in deaths relating to these natural disasters isn’t proof that climate change is a hoax either. Experts previously told USA TODAY that social factors and technological improvements, such as early warning systems and robust building engineering, have saved lives during the growing number of natural disasters.

These experts also said it’s difficult to accurately measure deaths associated with natural disasters because different parts of the world have different protocols for measuring mortality, numbers can be skewed by few high-mortality eve and high-quality, unbiased data isn’t always easily accessible.

And Ramaswamy’s hot and cold stat isn’t exactly clear cut. Though there doesn’t appear to be a clear consensus about the rate at which cold-related deaths outnumber those caused by the heat, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports there are nearly four times as many cold-related deaths, while the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics says there are roughly two times as many.

A study published by the Lancet found that there were roughly 10 times as many cold-related deaths as heat-related deaths, but the findings were solely based on European cities.

Other USA TODAY debunks about the legitimacy of climate change: 

  • Claim : Decreasing natural disaster-related death counts show climate change isn't real (False)
  • Claim: Climate change is a 'scam' because the US was hotter in 1913 than 2023 (False)
  • Claim: The US was 'much hotter' in 1936 than in 2023 (False)
  • Claim: 96% of climate data is corrupted (False)

-Hannah Hudnall

Vivek Ramaswamy claim: Jan. 6 now does look like an inside job

There is absolutely no evidence supporting this claim.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested and faced charges stemming from their actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with more than 700 having either pled guilty or been convicted at trial as of Oct. 6.

Among those convicted of helping plan or incite the activities was then-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for helping orchestrate the plot. Stewart Rhodes, who founded the Oath Keepers militia and said the rioters “should have brought rifles,” to the Capitol, was sentenced to 18 years for his role.

Fourth Republican debate live updates: GOP debate live updates: What to know as 2024 Republican candidates face off in Alabama

A pair of viral claims about government or law enforcement involvement in the riot have been debunked in recent months. Social media users claimed a video showed a man flashing a badge while inside the Capitol, but USA TODAY reported that the man had been previously identified as an HVAC technician by his own attorney, and the item he flashed resembled the vape he was later filmed using.

Another viral claim focused on a Trump supporter named Ray Epps, who was accused of being an undercover federal agent before pleading guilty in September to charges stemming from the riot. Numerous outlets have debunked claims that Epps was a government agent .

Other USA TODAY debunks on the nature of the Jan. 6 riot:

  • Fact check roundup : False narratives linger two years after Jan. 6 attack on Capitol
  • Claim :  A video shows antifa inside the Capitol building with floor plans and dressed as Trump supporters on Jan. 6, proving the attack was a setup (False)
  • Claim : FBI operatives organized the attack (False)
  • Claim : The Jan. 6 House select committee destroyed records that would exonerate Trump (False)

-Nate Trela

Nikki Haley claim: Every 30 minutes spent watching TikTok makes a person 17% more antisemitic

“For every 30 minutes that someone watches TikTok, every day, they become 17% more antisemitic.”

Haley is significantly misstating the nature of a survey that suggests TikTok is a driver of a surge in antisemitism.

The study was published Nov. 30 on X by Anthony Goldbloom , the former CEO of data science platform Kaggle.

It suggests that spending at least 30 minutes a day on TikTok increases the chances by 17% that a person responding to the survey holds antisemitic or anti-Israel views. By comparison, the increase with at least 30 minutes of use per day was 6% for an Instagram user and 2% for an X (formerly Twitter) user.

Goldbloom said this on the TikTok findings: "This is not surprising when you consider that for every view of a TikTok video with a pro-Israel hashtag in the US, there are 54 views of videos with pro-Palestinian hashtags."

– Joedy McCreary

Nikki Haley claim: She quit Boeing’s board over bailout

“When they decided, after COVID, that they wanted to go for a corporate bailout – I’ve never supported corporate bailouts, so I respectfully stepped back and got off the board."

Haley, who was elected to Boeing’s board of directors in April 2019, resigned in March 2020 , saying in a letter to the company’s management that she could not support its bid for government assistance early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Haley did, however, support other government funding for Boeing.

She backed a $900 million package of subsidies for Boeing manufacturing facilities in South Carolina in 2009 while she was a state lawmaker and candidate for governor, according to The Wall Street Journal . And as governor, she signed a law in 2013 to give Boeing $120 million in bond money as part of an expansion, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported .

Ron DeSantis claim: He delivered on all of his campaign promises in Florida

“100% of the things I promised as governor, I delivered on those promises. I beat the Left time and time again.”

This is false. While DeSantis has followed through on some of his campaign promises since being elected governor in 2018, he has not fulfilled all of them, according to PolitiFact’s “DeSant-O-Meter” scorecard.

His most prominent broken campaign promises relate to tax cuts. In 2018, DeSantis pledged to work to lower the corporate tax rate in Florida, and while it temporarily dropped from 2019 to 2021 primarily as the result of federal changes, it returned to 5.5% in 2022 – the same tax rate it was before DeSantis took office.

The governor also failed to follow through on his pledge to lower Florida’s communication services tax, which is assessed on telecommunications , audio and video streaming, direct-to-home satellite and related services. Florida consistently has one of the highest such taxes in the country, a fact which has not changed since DeSantis took office.

-Brad Sylvester

Ron DeSantis claim: Haley called for unlimited legal immigration, policy set by corporate CEOs

“Nikki Haley said the other day there should be no limits on legal immigration and that corporate CEOs should set the policy on that.” – DeSantis

Haley responded to this claim by asserting DeSantis was lying. DeSantis – who has previously levied the same attack against Haley – is indeed mischaracterizing her proposed reforms for legal immigration as detailed during a Nov. 2 town hall .

“For too long, Republican and Democrat presidents dealt with immigration based on a quota – ‘We’ll take X number this year, we’ll take X number the next year and the debate is on the number,’” Haley said.

“We need to do it based on merit. We need to go to our industries and say, ‘What do you need that you don’t have?’” she added. “So, think agriculture, think tourism, think tech. We want the talent that’s going to make us better. Then, you bring people in that can fill those needs.”

Haley has previously advocated easing legal pathways for new workers as a way to address labor shortages, The New York Times reported in November .

Ron DeSantis claim: The Biden administration wants to get rid of cash

“So one of the dangers we’re going to face, what Biden wants, is a central bank, digital currency. They want to get rid of cash, crypto, they want to force you to do that.”

This is inaccurate. Though President Joe Biden’s administration has researched the possible implications of digital currency, no concrete plans to implement such a thing have been made. In March 2022, Biden signed an executive order to promote the development of digital assets and cryptocurrencies, asking federal agencies to evaluate the viability of such a central bank digital currency.

Experts previously told USA TODAY that even if a digital currency were implemented in the future, it would serve as a possible alternative to physical currency, not a replacement. They also said as long as the Federal Reserve retains its independence, politicians would have no direct role in the creation or distribution of physical or digital currency.

USA TODAY found no record of Biden saying he supports eliminating cash.

  • Fact check: Biden's executive order will evaluate concept of a digital currency, not launch it

Nikki Haley claim: ‘I never said government should go and require anyone's name on the internet’

In a Fox News interview on Nov. 14 , Haley said, "Every person on social media should be verified by their name,” but she did not say who should do the verification – government or social media companies.

Haley called it a matter of national security to reduce the influence of foreign “bot” accounts that spread misinformation. In the same interview, Haley said she would require social media platforms to be transparent with their algorithms so Americans can “see why they're pushing what they're pushing.”

Other GOP candidates presented her remarks as saying the government was entitled to know the identities. A day later, Haley walked back her verification stance and said she believed social media companies should be doing the verification .

“I don’t mind anonymous American people having free speech," Haley said. "What I don’t like is anonymous Russians and Chinese and Iranians having free speech."

Ron DeSantis claim: Toddler died after fentanyl exposure at Florida Airbnb

“There was an 18-month-old baby who was crawling on the floor of an Airbnb rental. There was fentanyl residue on the carpet and the baby died.”

The Florida governor recycled an anecdote he previously brought up during the second GOP primary debate in September.

He was talking about the 2021 death of 19-month-old Enora Lavenir. She and her family stayed at a rental property in Wellington, Florida, while they visited from France, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post on the wrongful death lawsuit her family filed in March in Palm Beach County.

The lawsuit alleges that the home was not properly cleaned after a party was held there in which fentanyl and other drugs were present.

But official reports have not yet confirmed that. The county medical examiner’s office ruled her death accidental and said it was caused by acute fentanyl toxicity.

It is not clear how the child ingested the substance, and an incident report from the county sheriff’s office did not indicate how the toddler was exposed to the drug, according to the newspaper report. She was napping on the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2021, when her mother found her unresponsive. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Chris Christie claim: Ramaswamy has voted in the Republican primaries for less than 12 years

“I’ve known (Haley) for 12 years, which is longer than he’s even started to vote in a Republican primary.”

This is true. Ramaswamy said he was a libertarian in college and voted as a libertarian in 2004, but didn’t vote in 2008, 2012 or 2016,  according to Reuters . He says he then voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020. 

Ramaswamy has said he doesn’t strongly identify with either political party and is merely using the Republican party as a “vehicle” to stand for “America-first principles.”

Vivek Ramaswamy claim: Nikki Haley was bankrupt when she stepped down from the UN

“Nikki, you were bankrupt when you left the U.N. … And now you’re a multimillionaire. That math doesn’t add up. It adds up to the fact that you are corrupt.”

This overstates the nature of Haley’s financial situation, according to Forbes. When Haley stepped down as former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations in 2018, her parents owed over $1 million and were in danger of losing their home, according to Forbes. Haley and her husband then loaned them hundreds of thousands of dollars to help.

Though Haley’s 2018 financial disclosure report showed she was at least $1.5 million in debt, most of that was a $1 million mortgage. Forbes reported that she had nearly $100,000 in her bank accounts and $185,000 coming in each year in salary.

There are no reports from Forbes or other reputable outlets that Haley declared bankruptcy.

Ron DeSantis claim: He removed two Soros-backed prosecutors in Florida

“We beat George Soros when we removed two of his radical district attorneys.”

DeSantis has indeed removed two prosecutors that Democratic megadonor George Soros backed. In August, the Florida governor suspended Orlando-area State Attorney Monique Worrell, a Democrat and the only Black woman serving as a local prosecutor in the state, according to NBC News . Worrell was elected in 2020 with donations that included more than $2 million from the Soros-backed Our Vote Our Voice Political Action Committee.

A statement from DeSantis’ office claims Worrell was “neglecting her duty to faithfully prosecute crime in her jurisdiction.” Worrell referred to her suspension as a “ political hit job .”  DeSantis also dismissed Tampa-area prosecutor Andrew Warren in 2022 for “refusing to enforce Florida law,” according to a statement from his office. Warren, like Worrell, was elected in 2020 with help from a Soros-backed committee.

Nikki Haley claim: Unemployment in South Carolina fell from 11% to 3%

“We moved unemployment from 11% to 3%.”

Haley is slightly overstating how far that rate dropped, according to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics .

The unemployment rate in South Carolina was 10.8% when Haley was sworn in as governor in January 2011.

But that rate never reached 3% during her term, BLS statistics show. Rather, it bottomed out at 4.4% in January 2017 when she left office.

Support of Israel in war with Hamas unwavering for most candidates

Israel’s war with Hamas is nearly two months old, with fighting ramping up again after a humanitarian pause that allowed for the release of hostages held by Hamas and prisoners held by Israel.

Most of the candidates on stage tonight have continuously offered support for Israel, which Hamas attacked on Oct. 7. Chris Christie said degrading Hamas’s military capabilities must be Israel’s highest priority in the war. Ron DeSantis has remained staunchly supportive of Israel, calling for defunding the United Nations after it called for a ceasefire without the body condemning Hamas.

Nikki Haley has been looking ahead, questioning whether a two-state solution would be viable after the conflict ends.

Vivek Ramaswamy remains an outlier among the debate participants, openly questioning how much financial support the U.S. should provide Israel and for how long.

Misinformation about the conflict continues to spread. Here are some claims we have debunked:

  • Fact check roundup : Israel-Hamas war sparks many misleading claims online
  • Claim : Hamas attack on Supernova music festival was a false flag (False)
  • Claim : Video proves IDF tanks fired on Israeli citizens in a kibbutz on Oct. 7 (False)
  • Claim : Video shows a Doctors Without Borders medic aiding terrorists (False)
  • Claim : Gaza Health Ministry announced all ICU patients at Al Shifa Hospital had died (False)
  • Claim : Video shows Palestinians faking war injuries (False)
  • Claim : Photo shows American troops praying before being deployed to Israel (False)  

– Nate Trela

US aid to Ukraine divides Republican candidates

Nearly two years after Russia's invasion of Ukraine began, there remain differing views among Republican presidential candidates about continuing U.S. support for Ukraine's defense. 

Trump, who is again choosing to skip the debate , has repeatedly suggested the U.S. is providing too much support to Ukraine. He has also refused to say whether he wants Russia or Ukraine to prevail in the conflict.

DeSantis has been skeptical of U.S. support for Ukraine, saying in a March statement that the war is a "territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia" and not one of the country's "vital national interests."

In a Fox News interview , Ramaswamy said the U.S. has done enough to help Ukraine, while Christie has said he supports continuing U.S. support for Ukraine.

Haley, though, has said U.S. support should not come in the form of cash or troops on the ground, but through collaborating with allies to be sure Ukraine has "the equipment and the ammunition to win."

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have been increasingly split over continuing to provide standalone aid to Ukraine and Israel. Some Republicans have called for aid to be tied to funding for border security and cuts to the IRS. 

The war in Ukraine has frequently been the subject of misinformation:

  • Fact check roundup : What's true and what's false about the Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • Claim: US Special Forces arrested Ukrainian officials on Nov. 13 (False)
  • Claim: Zelenskyy surrendered and Ukraine has fallen (False)
  • Claim : Putin invaded Ukraine to take out the ‘main hub’ for bioweapons labs, child trafficking and money laundering (False)
  • Claim : US accidentally sent Ukraine an extra $6.2 billion (False)
  • Claim : US aid to Ukraine is double expenditure for Afghanistan War (False)
  • Claim : NATO sent 10,000 troops to Ukraine (False)
  • Claim : China is providing tanks for Ukraine to use against Russia (False)

– Chris Mueller & Hannah Hudnall

Talk of Trump indictments, civil trial persists despite absence

Former President Donald Trump continues to loom large over the four Republican hopefuls on the debate stage.

Trump has not taken part in any debates during this election cycle and is holding a private fundraiser instead of participating in this one. Yet he remains the party’s central figure in light of both his commanding lead in the polls and his unprecedented legal troubles .

Much of Trump’s focus has been on his civil fraud trial in New York , where prosecutors claim he committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets and are seeking an estimated $250 million in damages, among other penalties. A gag order was restored against the former president who has called the trial a “scam” and a “disgrace” and asserted the judge who ruled he committed fraud knew nothing about him.

The series of prosecutions against Trump began in March, when he was indicted for allegedly falsifying business records related to hush-money payments intended to silence two women before the 2016 election. Trump also faces charges for allegedly mishandling classified documents and allegedly conspiring to steal the 2020 presidential election , including his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection . Trump and several allies were indicted in August by a Georgia grand jury that accused them of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, where Trump lost to President Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes.

Both Trump's candidacy and his legal woes have been the subject of an array of false or misleading claims on social media:

  • Fact check roundup : What’s true and false on Trump indictments
  • Claim : Trump announced his running mate for the 2024 election (False)
  • Claim : Video shows US military member calling Trump the 'real' president (False)
  • Claim: Trump said he is still commander-in-chief during a campaign speech (False)
  • Claim : New York Attorney General Letitia James was arrested (False)
  • Claim : 80% of Donald Trump's civil fraud case was dismissed for violating the statute of limitations (False)
  • Claim : Trump had Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis impeached (False)
  • Claim : Charges against Trump include potential for death penalty (False)
  • Claim : Trump was charged with espionage (False)
  • Claim : Biden ordered Trump's indictment in classified documents probe (False)

Jan. 6 riot remains part of campaign

The Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot continues to loom over the field of GOP presidential candidates, even though none of the debate participants had direct ties to the storming of the Capitol or the certification of election results that day.

Former President Donald Trump has won legal battles over the past month to keep from being kicked off the ballot in Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado. Each effort was based on the claim that Trump bore responsibility for the attack on the Capitol and should be disqualified under a post-Civil War-era clause of the 14th Amendment that bars anyone who "engaged in insurrection" after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding higher office.

The candidates participating in tonight’s debate have largely agreed that those responsible for the events at the Capitol should be held accountable, although Ron DeSantis has balked at calling it an insurrection and Vivek Ramaswamy has been circumspect about whether Trump bears any responsibility for what happened.

Speaker Mike Johnson has brought the events forward again by releasing footage from the Capitol , a process slowed by his decision to blur the faces of rioters. The released video has already been co-opted into the steady flow of misinformation surrounding the riot.

Here are some claims we’ve previously debunked:

  • Claim : Pence was arrested that day (False)
  • Claim: The Jan. 6 House select committee destroyed records that would exonerate Trump (False)
  • Claim : A video showed the Trump family celebrating the riots from a nearby tent (False)
  • Claim : Image shows a federal agent posing as a Trump supporter during Jan. 6 riot (False)

Abortion sparks debate, misinformation after Roe v. Wade ruling

Abortion rights are likely to be a key issue for voters as the 2024 presidential election nears.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022, eliminating the constitutional right to have an abortion, more than a dozen states have banned , or attempted to ban, abortion. Meanwhile, progressive organizations and activists have scored seven straight victories in statewide ballots, most recently in Ohio .

Democrats have sought to use the issue to mobilize voters ahead of the 2024 election. Republican presidential candidates have generally been opposed to the procedure, but vary in how they would try to regulate it if elected. 

Trump has suggested he would work with “both sides” of the abortion issue and has denounced total restrictions on abortions. He criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of legislation banning abortion after six weeks in his state.

At the third GOP presidential debate in Miami, Haley said she considers herself "pro-life" but believes abortion is “a personal issue for every woman and every man," while Christie has called for leaving the matter up to individual states. 

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy has said he does not support a federal ban on abortion and believes the matter is a state issue but lamented the abortion referendum recently passed in his home state of Ohio. 

Abortion has sparked a flurry of misinformation online: 

  • Claim : Nebraska teen charged with a felony after using abortion pills faces five years in prison (Partly false)
  • Claim : The abortion pill caused 28 maternal deaths and over 4,200 adverse events (False)
  • Claim : Texas teen got 96 years in prison for crossing state lines for abortion (Satire)
  • Claim : A California ballot measure would ‘extend abortions up to 9 months’ (False)
  • Claim : A 12-year-old girl who gets an abortion in Alabama is thrown in prison for life (False)
  • Claim : Planned Parenthood clinics are shutting down all over the country (False)
  • Claim : Biden proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade in 1982 (Partly false)
  • Claim : Abortions were banned before AR-style semi-automatic rifles (Missing context)
  • Claim : Roe v. Wade marked the end of women dying from abortions (False)
  • Claim : Mike Johnson said women have ‘a duty’ to give birth to ‘at least one able-bodied worker’ (False)

– BrieAnna Frank & Hannah Hudnall

Election integrity remains focus for GOP candidates

The next election is less than a year away, but the fight over the results of the last one continues. 

A key issue for the four candidates on the debate stage remains whether they trust the election process in the U.S.

Allegations of voter fraud from Trump and his allies are at the root of two indictments against the former president, who is accused of trying to steal the 2020 election . His claims have resonated throughout the Republican Party and eroded confidence in the process, even as state-level reviews of the 2022 midterm elections found no indication of systemic problems with voter fraud.

Some of the candidates taking part in the debate have made moves in their states to enhance the integrity of elections.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis created Florida’s Office of Election Crimes and Security. A year ago, his administration accused 20 felons ineligible to vote of illegally casting ballots in 2020 and charged them with third-degree felonies.
  • Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as governor signed a law in 2011 that requires South Carolina voters to show photo ID .
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill in 2016 that would automatically register New Jerseyans to vote when they obtain or renew their driver’s license, calling it “a cocktail of fraud,” NJ.com reported .

Misinformation has circulated about the integrity of the elections. Here are some that have been debunked:

  • Fact check roundup : False claims about election fraud, candidates swirl amid 2022 midterms
  • Claim : Maricopa County, Arizona, officials admitted to breaking the law, improperly certifying machines that failed during election (False)
  • Claim : Arizona task force found Gov. Katie Hobbs interfered in 2022 election as secretary of state (False)
  • Claim : Douglass Mackey was sentenced to prison for 'making memes disparaging Hillary Clinton’ (False)
  • Claim : A software company's contract allows officials to override election results (False)
  • Claim : Malware, remote access caused printer problems; 200,000 'ejected' ballots in Arizona (False)
  • Claim : A chart shows election fraud in the Michigan AG’s race (False)
  • Claim : Georgia is Democrats' test site for 2024 'private takeover of election offices’ (False)
  • Claim : Blackout in live stream in Nevada points to election theft (False)
  • Claim : Fraud due to Texas voting machine adding voters as polls close (False)
  • Claim : Photo showing ballots from 2022 midterms in the trash is evidence of fraud (False)
  • Claim : Democrats used 47 million mail-in ballots to steal every election (False)
  • Claim : Joe Biden did not legally win the presidential election (False)
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TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE HOMEWORK…That is the question!

The amount of homework students are given differs greatly across grade levels and states. Some students are given hours of work while other students are assigned little or no work to be done at home.

So what’s appropriate? What is the purpose of homework? What are the advantages and disadvantages of homework? How much homework should be assigned? How important is the quality of the assignments? And most importantly: Does homework increase student achievement?

These questions represent the ongoing debate surrounding homework for the past two decades. According to a survey by the University of Michigan , homework has doubled over the last twenty years, especially in the younger grades, due to the school’s requirement to meet higher-than-ever achievement goals for children. Although homework has academic and non-academic advantages and disadvantages, the majority of studies conducted reveal inconclusive evidence that assigning homework increases student achievement. Most studies show positive effects for certain students, others suggest no effects, and some even suggest negative effects according to research by Alfie Kohn , an independent scholar (2006).

Let’s begin with the purpose of homework…

Educators assign homework for different reasons and purposes. Homework is assigned either as practice , preparation , extension , or integration of grade-level skills and concepts.

PRACTICE HOMEWORK reinforces learning from the skills and concepts already taught in the classroom. Practice homework promotes retention and automaticity of the concept , skill, and content taught. Examples include practicing multiplication facts or writing simple sentences in order to commit theses skills and concepts to long-term memory .

PREPARATION HOMEWORK is assigned to introduce content that will be addressed in future lessons. However, research suggests that homework is less effective if it is used to teach new or complex skills. For these types of assignments, students typically become stressed which can create a negative perspective towards learning and school.

EXTENSION HOMEWORK requires students to use previously taught skills and concepts and apply them to new situations or projects. For instance, students may use the concept of area and perimeter to build a flowerbed.

INTEGRATION HOMEWORK requires the student to apply learned skills and concepts to produce a single project like reading a book and writing a report on it.

Homework also serves other purposes not directly related to instruction. Homework can help establish communication between parents and children; it can be used as a form of discipline; and it can inform parents about school topics and activities.

The Homework Debate

The homework debate often focuses on how and why homework affects student learning and achievement. Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology, and colleagues (2006) found there are both positive and negative consequences of homework.

The Benefits

Homework provides practice with content, concepts, and skills taught at school by the teacher. It can foster retention and understanding of the academic content. Some studies suggest that homework correlates with student achievement. Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) discovered a positive correlation between the amount of the homework students do and their achievement at the secondary level. Some studies also suggest that assigning homework improves the achievement of low-performing students and students in low-performing schools. However, the correlation between student achievement and homework given to elementary students is inconclusive. Most research only supports homework for middle and high school students (Cooper 1989a; Kohn 2006).

There are also non-academic reasons for assigning homework. Corno and Xu (2004) discovered that homework fosters independence, develops time-management skills, and teaches responsibility. Assigning homework to primary age students can establish better study habits and skills for secondary education (Bempechat, 2004). Homework promotes a positive attitude towards school and keeps families informed about their child’s learning.

The Potential Harm

Homework also has negative associations. It can lead to boredom if the student has already mastered the skills, and it can lead to loss of interest in school due to burnout.  Cheating is involved with homework by either copying another student’s work or when help is received from adults in an attempt to finish all the assignments.  Also, assigning excessive amounts of homework may result in unneeded stress and pressure on the child, which affects the student’s emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health.

The correlation between homework and student achievement is inconsistent. In The Battle Over Homework , Cooper determined that the average correlation between the time primary children spent on homework and achievement was around zero. Not to mention, the amount of homework completed had no effect on test scores.  David Baker and Gerald  LeTendre, professors of education at Penn State , found that countries that assign minimal amounts of homework, like Japan, were the most successful school systems compared to Greece and Iran school systems where students are given a lot of work.

Another concern surrounding homework is its interference with the student’s time to relax and take their minds off work as well as family time. Students are spending too much time completing homework assignments instead of playing outside or enjoying leisure activities, which teach and enhance important life skills.

In addition, homework decreases the time spent with family. As Alfie Kohn states in The Homework Myth , “ Why should children be asked to work a second shift? It’s unconscionable to send children to work for nearly eight hours a day, then have them go home and work for 2-5 more hours. Secondly, it reduces the amount of time that children could be spending with their families. Family time is especially important to a growing child and without it social problems can crop up and a family unit can be compromised by a lack of time being spent together .”

The Amount of Homework

The frequency and duration of each assignment does not necessarily suggest a correlation between homework and student achievement. “ We found that for kids in elementary school there was hardly any relationship between how much homework young children did and how well they were doing in school, but in middle school the relationship is positive and increases until the kids were doing between an hour to two hours a night, which is right where the 10-minute rule says it’s going to be optimal,” stated Harris Cooper. The 10-minute rule was created by the National PTA which suggests 10 minutes per a grade should be assigned (e.g., 70 minutes for 7 th grade). “After that it didn’t go up anymore. Kids that reported doing more than two hours of homework in middle school weren’t doing any better in school than kids who were doing between an hour to two hours ,” said Harris Cooper.

Quantity Versus Quality

Effective homework is homework with a purpose. According to Cooper, some teachers assign ‘shotgun homework’ : blanket drills, questions, and problems. Students are given homework that is not furthering the concepts and skills. The homework is assigned because it has been drilled into our collective mind that homework produces higher performing students. However, homework is most effective when it covers material already taught, is given for review, or is used to reinforce skills previously learned. Students should not be assigned homework on concepts and skills they do not grasp.

DataWORKS Educational Research recommends assigning homework to provide additional repetitions of the content to promote retention and automaticity . The reason for homework is to practice the content, NOT to learn the content.  Students learn the content (skills and concepts) from the lesson taught at school. Students need to be able to complete the work at home without assistance because some students do not have an English-speaking parents or guardians to help them.

In conclusion, research is inconsistent in determining if homework increases student achievement. As educators, the amount, frequency, and the purpose should be considered prior to assigning homework. Homework should be used effectively! Instead of the quantity of homework, educators should improve the quality of the assignments. Homework assignments must be well-designed.  So, when assigning homework, please consider the effectiveness of it, homework should positively impact the student learning. Otherwise, the debate about homework will continue without an answer – to give or not to give !

Kohn, Alfie (2007). Rethinking Homework .

Kohn, Alfie.   The Homework Myth:  Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing  (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006).

Cooper, H. (1989).  Homework.  White Plains, NY: Longman.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research .  1987–2003.  Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1–62.

What is your stance on homework? What do you think is an appropriate amount of homework? Why do you assign homework? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

Author:  patricia bogdanovich.

Patricia has held various positions with DataWORKS since 2002. She currently works as a Curriculum Specialist. Patricia helped develop and create many of the early resources and workshops designed by DataWORKS, and she is an expert in analysis of standards. Patricia plans to blog about curriculum and assessments for CCSS and NGSS, classroom strategies, and news and research from the world of education.

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Tracking the issues in the 2024 election

Where the republican presidential candidates stand on immigration.

Headshot of Jasmine Garsd

Jasmine Garsd

there should be no homework debate

Clockwise, from top left: former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images; Eduardo Munoz Alvarez-Pool/Getty Images; Jim Vondruska/Getty Images; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Clockwise, from top left: former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump.

The historic numbers of immigrants arriving at the southern border and seeking shelter in cities like New York and Chicago has been making headlines for more than a year. American voters report mixed feelings: 47% have said immigration is a major concern, but two-thirds of Americans continue to see it as beneficial to the country.

The Biden administration's immigration policy has been described as a "carrot and stick" approach: punish migrants who enter the U.S. without documents, and encourage folks to apply to enter legally. In order to alleviate pressure at the southern border, the president has also expanded legal programs for immigrants from countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Ukraine. Many advocates have said asylum seekers fleeing persecution can't wait to apply to enter legally; meanwhile Republicans have accused Biden of executive overreach and are suing in federal court.

Biden's policy has had mixed results. This year, there has been a record rise in people displaced globally, and an unprecedented number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border: more than 2.5 million.

But those numbers only tell part of the story. Overall, the number of people crossing the border without permission outside legal ports of entry has decreased since September. The number of migrants arriving at legal points of entry has more than doubled. More immigrants than ever before are being placed in deportation proceedings when they go through ports of entry. What this means is people are given a "notice to appear" in immigration court at a future date that could be within months or even years later. As NPR has reported, the system, which has an extensive backlog, has the feel of " a revolving door ."

Border Patrol sending migrants to unofficial camps in California's desert, locals say

Border Patrol sending migrants to unofficial camps in California's desert, locals say

What happens to immigrants once they are in the country has led to intense friction between the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Earlier this year, several Republican governors began bussing migrants to Democratic-led cities like New York and Chicago. New York alone has received over 150,000 migrants in the last 18 months , and butted heads with the Biden administration, saying its shelter system cannot handle any more. Migrant destination cities like Chicago are finding their homelessness problem compounded.

The administration has said its hands are tied without Congress coming together on immigration. Republican presidential candidates have said Biden's policies have been disastrous, and made a harder stance on immigration the centerpiece of their campaigns. Notably, the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, has proposed a historic, radical shift in U.S. immigration policies. He has not only promised to reinstate some of the more controversial policies enacted during his presidency, he's also vowed to expand them. Other Republican candidates' proposals essentially mirror his. As one Los Angeles Times columnist recently described it, immigration promises are a " contest to out-Trump Trump ."

What border security policies should the U.S. put in place?

At the heart of Republican promises are expanding the immigration detention system, strengthening Border Patrol, deputizing local law enforcement, deploying military to the border, and large scale deportations. One of the main concerns they have expressed has been fentanyl coming over the border — although, as NPR has reported, virtually no migrants or asylum seekers have been caught smuggling fentanyl, and it mostly comes through legal ports of entry.

Who is sneaking fentanyl across the southern border? Hint: it's not the migrants

Who is sneaking fentanyl across the southern border? Hint: it's not the migrants

Federal judge prohibits separating migrant families at the border

Federal judge prohibits separating migrant families at the border

Trump has said he will expedite deportations at the border and conduct " the largest deportation operation " in history, modeled after President Dwight Eisenhower's mass deportation program of 1954. He has also said he would not rule out the practice of family separation at the border, which caused widespread outrage and lawsuits during his presidency — the administration eventually had to rescind the policy. However, a federal judge recently banned this policy for the next eight years.

The New York Times has reported Trump plans to expand Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities in order to hold people awaiting processing and court appearances. During his presidency, Trump advocated for increased spending on border protection. While he has not clarified his position in this campaign cycle, Trump has said he will give the National Guard and local law enforcement authority to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said, if elected, he too will expand detention. He will increase pay for Border Patrol agents, and recruit former military and police officers. One of the hallmarks of DeSantis' governorship in Florida has been a hardline stance on immigration, which he has called an "invasion." He has criticized Trump for not finishing the southern border wall and promised to do so, saying "we need to build a wall across the southern border. I'll get it done and I'll make... Mexico is supposed to pay for it, remember?"

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has often touted her own hardline immigration policies . While she hasn't really said much on deputizing the National Guard or local law enforcement to assist with immigration enforcement, she certainly has the track record for it: using local police forces was one of the hallmarks of her career as governor. Scholars have pointed out that the legality of the military engaging in domestic law enforcement would be questionable.

She has said she would add 25,000 Border Patrol and ICE agents, specifically taking back the additional federal budget allocated for the IRS . Still, she has positioned herself as the more middle-of -the-road conservative for Republicans who want an alternative to Trump.

How the Republican presidential candidates view Jan. 6, democracy and voting issues

How the Republican presidential candidates view Jan. 6, democracy and voting issues

Where the Republican presidential candidates stand on Israel, Ukraine and China

Where the Republican presidential candidates stand on Israel, Ukraine and China

She has also said she supports deporting immigrants who have arrived in the country during President Biden's term, including through legal programs. "Instead of 'catch-and-release,' we'll go to catch and deport," is a common applause line at her rallies. But Haley has also said she would consider leniency towards undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. longer: "For those that have been here longer than that, we've got to start seeing, who is it? How long have they been here? Have they been vetted? Have they paid taxes? Have they been working? And figure out who else is out there." Haley has pointed to her own experience as the daughter of immigrants. "What I know is my parents came here legally, they put in the time, they put in the price, they are offended by those that are coming illegally. We can't let them skip the line."

In the most recent Republican debate, Vivek Ramaswamy pushed back on any kind of consideration for undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for longer periods of time. "What about all of the illegals who are already here?" h e asked. Ramaswamy too is advocating for deploying the military to protect the southern border, and deputizing local law enforcement. "There are one million then officials, law enforcement officials in this country, and against that backdrop, we absolutely have the ability to deport anybody who's in this country illegally." Novelly, Ramaswamy also announced support for a border wall at the northern border with Canada, something no other candidate has remarked upon.

Ramaswamy and DeSantis have also pledged to work to close the Darien Gap, a treacherous jungle region between Colombia and Panama through which many migrants travel on the journey to the southern border. "Close the Darien Gap through threats of sanctions/tariffs against Colombia, Panama, & Costa Rica," Ramaswamy has said , "which have for years controlled the flow of migrants." This is not an entirely new stance. There have been talks of the Biden administration working with local governments to stop the flow of migrants through the gap.

Perhaps the more moderate position on immigration has come from former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie has said "we are not going to be able to apprehend and detain our way out of this problem." He has, however, indicated that he would also "send the National Guard to the southern border," as he said earlier this year in an interview with CNN . In fact, he's promised this would be his first move if elected president. "No matter how hard our Customs [agents] and Border Patrol agents and our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are working, they need back-up ." To do that, Christie supports building the border wall. "At this point, I think we've started to build it; let's finish it... And — and we've put away with the fiction that Mexico is going to pay for it. Right? So that would be one of the priorities."

Should the U.S. military go into Mexico to fight drug cartels?

One of the most heavy handed promises to come from Republicans is military action in Mexico in order to confront the narco-trafficking problem. It is not the first time Republicans have considered using military force inside Mexico to attack cartels. According to Trump's former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the former president proposed sending missiles to Mexico to target cartels.

The idea has gained traction among Republican candidates, and outraged the Mexican government (there has not been a U.S. military incursion into Mexico in over a century). Still, DeSantis has pledged to "change the rules of engagement on the border" and send Special Forces into Mexico to confront drug cartels. Ramaswamy has said he will attempt to negotiate with the Mexican government, but if there is no cooperation, he will send troops in . "It's like if you have a neighbor who has a dog that comes over to your yard and keeps biting your family members repeatedly. If they keep doing that, at some point you can take a shotgun and shoot that dog," said Ramaswamy a few months ago on Fox News. "You know what you tell the Mexican president? Haley supports a special operation in Mexico, saying earlier this year, "either you do it or we do it. But we are not going to let all of this lawlessness continue to happen." Christie has said he will give Mexico 90 days to take action against cartels, or take matters into his own hands.

Where the Republican presidential candidates stand on abortion

Where the Republican presidential candidates stand on abortion

Where the Republican presidential candidates stand on climate change

Where the Republican presidential candidates stand on climate change

Experts have pointed out that sending troops to Mexico without that nation's authorization could be a diplomatic disaster, to which Trump recently responded, "Mexico is sending their troops into our country in the form of illegal aliens that are killing people, in many cases, that are causing lots of disease and lots of problems." The conflation of migrants with drug trafficking — especially the smuggling of fentanyl — is a constant theme amongst all Republican candidates. It's also categorically untrue : the vast majority of illicit fentanyl — close to 90% — is seized at official border crossings. Immigration authorities say nearly all of that is smuggled by people who are legally authorized to cross the border, and more than half by U.S. citizens. Virtually none is seized from migrants seeking asylum.

Should the U.S. end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants born in the U.S.?

This is one of the most controversial promises on the campaign trail, albeit not a new one. DeSantis, Trump and Ramaswamy have said that they will take action to end birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants. As a reminder, Trump wanted to do this during his presidency. Haley has echoed this stance, though with specific distinction: "For the 5 million people who've entered our country illegally, I am against birthright citizenship," she told Fox News in July. "For those that are in this country legally, of course, I think we go according to the Constitution, and that's fine."

Legal scholars have pointed out that it is unlikely this would be possible, given the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. Ramaswamy has recently balked at this interpretation, saying it's a misreading of the amendment. "The left will howl about the Constitution and the 14th Amendment. The difference between me and them is I've actually read the 14th Amendment... if the kid of a Mexican diplomat doesn't enjoy birthright citizenship, then neither does the kid of an illegal immigrant who broke the law to come here."

How should the U.S. handle asylum claims and refugee status?

Asylum seekers arriving at the southern border in record numbers have driven the national immigration debate in recent years, so this is a focal point for most Republican candidates, who have said they will limit access to asylum significantly.

Ramaswamy went so far as to call the refugee problem "fake." In October, he posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, "TRUTH: we need to admit that the U.S. has a self-created fake refugee problem that is *systemic.* You can't cure a cancer until you acknowledge its existence."

Others are playing silly political "gotcha" games on what to do with Gazan refugees, but here's the TRUTH: we need to admit that the U.S. has a self-created fake refugee problem that is *systemic.* You can't cure a cancer until you acknowledge its existence. As President, I will… — Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) October 17, 2023

Ramaswamy then promised to "implement an asylum & refugee moratorium until our borders are fully secured and our asylum laws are updated - period." Ramaswamy has also indicated he would end Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which offers temporary protection from deportation to certain designated groups fleeing unsafe conditions.

Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy and Haley have all said they would reinstate " remain in Mexico ," a Trump-era policy which forced asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their court date. "We'll go back to the 'Remain in Mexico' policy because, guess what, no one wants to remain in Mexico," Haley has said . It was a controversial policy as migrants were staying in border towns and cities, often controlled by Mexican drug cartels.

GOP presidential candidates of color walk a 'tightrope' as they discuss race

GOP presidential candidates of color walk a 'tightrope' as they discuss race

DeSantis has also said he will reinstate the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with Northern Triangle Countries , a Trump-era agreement with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that would allow the U.S. to send asylum seekers to these countries and bar them from applying for protection in the U.S.

What should the U.S. do about public funding allocated for immigrants?

Several Republican candidates are promising to cut off types of aid and government assistance for immigrant communities.

One DeSantis promise that has received less attention is a plan to cut funding for NGOs that are encouraging mass migration on behalf of the Biden administration." He has also pledged to remove undocumented immigrants from U.S. Census apportionment calculations, which provides the data by which federal funding decisions are made, as well as how congressional seats are drawn.

Immigrants and the census was a constant battle for President Trump , who has pledged to stop immigrants from accessing any type of welfare benefits. "It's all being paid for by the American taxpayer."

In a similar vein, defunding so-called sanctuary cities, or municipalities with protections for undocumented immigrants, has been an ongoing theme for all candidates. As governor of Florida, DeSantis signed a bill in 2019 prohibiting sanctuary policies. He and Ramaswamy have said that they will penalize sanctuary cities, by cutting off millions of dollars in grants. Haley has also said she will "make sure we defund sanctuary cities once and for all."

Should the U.S. enact a ban on entry from Muslim-majority nations?

With the current national attention on the Israel-Hamas conflict and ongoing protests nationwide on both sides of the issue, several candidates have called on the federal government to revoke visas from students who have supported Palestine or participated in anti-Israel protests.

Then-President Trump's executive order banning entry into the U.S. by people from certain Muslim-majority nations caused international uproar. Trump has said that he will reinstate and expand this policy if elected in 2024. "No longer will we allow dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots, and maniacs to get residency in our country. We're not going to let them stay here. If you empathize with radical Islamic, terrorists and extremists, you're disqualified. You're just disqualified."

Trump has also indicated he will institute ideological screenings for visas. "We will revoke the student visas of radical anti-American and antisemitic foreigners at our colleges and universities and we will send them straight back home."

DeSantis, who recently ordered Florida's university system to shut down a pro-Palestinian group, supports deporting students he deems supportive of Hamas, saying they "don't have a right to be here on a visa. You don't have a right to be studying in the United States." He's said if elected president, he will expel those students from the country. Beyond just students, DeSantis has said "there needs to be limits on immigration and we should not be importing people from cultures that are hostile... we're not taking anyone from Gaza because of the antisemitism and because they reject... effect American culture, so we've got to get smart about this."

As NPR has reported, it is already quite difficult for Palestinians to come to the US as refugees: since 2014, only around 500 have arrived.

In a Palestinian enclave in New Jersey, grief pervades everything

In a Palestinian enclave in New Jersey, grief pervades everything

Haley has disagreed somewhat with the Trump administration's ban. Her take : "It's not about a religion, it's about a fact that certain countries are dangerous and are threats to us... I don't think that you have a straight-up Muslim ban as much as you look at the countries that have terrorist activities that want to hurt Americans. You can ban those people from those countries," she said. She pointed to recent migrants coming across the southern border from countries such as Iran, Yemen or Lebanon, which she called "areas where they say death to America."

How can the U.S. immigration system help with the country's labor shortage?

One of the major demands from cities like Chicago and New York, which received large influxes of migrants, was that the federal government help expedite work authorizations, and thus move people out of the shelter system quicker. The cry of "Let them work!" became ubiquitous in New York Mayor Eric Adams' speeches. Business leaders have also been demanding policies that help alleviate labor shortages. As NPR has reported, the process of getting a work authorization is complicated for migrants and asylum seekers, and this often pushes them into exploitative informal labor. It also means industries in dire need of workers can't legally hire them.

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‘No need for debate, there should be a detailed investigation’ — Modi on Parliament security breach

In an interview to a hindi daily, pm termed security breach as matter of concern, but countered demands from opposition parties for debate in the house on it. 6 arrested in the case so far..

Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: Reuters

New Delhi:  In his first remarks on Wednesday’s Parliament security breach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a detailed investigation into the incident.

“There is no need to debate this, there should be a detailed investigation,” he told  Dainik Jagran  newspaper in an interview published Saturday.

Modi said the security breach was painful and a matter of concern but countered demands from opposition parties for a debate in the House on this.

“The seriousness of this incident should not be downplayed. The (Lok Sabha) Speaker is taking all the necessary steps. Probe agencies are investigating the matter. It is important to find out which elements are behind this and what their objectives are,” he told the newspaper.

On 13 December, two men had jumped from the visitors’ gallery in the new Parliament building onto the members’ benches in the Lok Sabha and set off a smoke canister. Meanwhile, two other persons staged a protest outside Parliament.

In all, the Delhi Police have arrested six persons in the case, invoking the stringent anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, against four of them.

The incident occurred on the 22nd anniversary of the 2001 Parliament attack, in which more than a dozen people were killed, including the five assailants.

The Opposition has reacted strongly to the security breach. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi Saturday said that the reason behind the incident was unemployment and inflation.

The BJP hit back, saying that Gandhi “always talks trash” and claimed that unemployment was at its lowest in the last six years.

Also Read:   ‘Crony capitalism’, Covid: Parliament breach suspect had many a gripe with govt, his FB page shows

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Guest Essay

Campus Speech Codes Should Be Abolished

A photo illustration of a bird flying out the open door of a birdcage.

By James Kirchick

Mr. Kirchick is the author of “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington,” a contributing writer at Tablet and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

The tentative, lawyerly answers given last week by three university presidents at a House committee hearing investigating the state of antisemitism on America’s college campuses have generated widespread revulsion across the partisan divide. When none of the presidents — representing Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania — could muster a straightforward reply to the question from Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, about whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” amounted to “bullying or harassment,” many prominent Democrats joined Republicans in denouncing the testimony.

“I’m no fan” of Ms. Stefanik, the Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe said on social media, “but I’m with her here.” When one of Donald Trump’s most ardent detractors applauds one of his most staunch defenders , you know some sort of vanishingly rare political singularity has been achieved.

Critics are correct to note the hypocrisy of university leaders who have belatedly come to embrace a version of free speech absolutism that tolerates calls for Jewish genocide after years of punishing far less objectionable speech deemed offensive to other minority groups. In 2021, for instance, M.I.T. withdrew a speaking invitation from a geophysicist who had criticized affirmative action. Harvard and Penn appear at the very bottom of the annual free speech rankings of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (where I am a senior fellow).

But two wrongs don’t make a right. If the problem with campus speech codes is the selectivity with which universities penalize various forms of bigotry, the solution is not to expand the university’s power to punish expression. It’s to abolish speech codes entirely.

Universities have a vital role to play in fostering a culture of free and open debate, and the presidents were right to draw a distinction between speech and conduct. Threats directed at individual students are inconsistent with a university’s goal of fostering a productive educational environment, not to mention against the law. Students can and should face disciplinary action and even expulsion for certain behavior: acts of violence, true threats ( defined by the Supreme Court as “serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals”) and discriminatory harassment (which the court delineates as behavior “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit”). Students can and should also be punished for disrupting classes, occupying buildings or employing the so-called heckler’s veto, whereby they prevent a speaker from being heard.

But students should not be punished for speech protected by the First Amendment — even something as odious as a call for genocide.

The central problem with restrictions on odious speech is that it’s often debatable, for example, what amounts to a call for genocide, and university administrators are poorly positioned to adjudicate such debates. When Ms. Stefanik asked the university presidents whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” constituted a violation of their codes of conduct, she was referring to three specific phrases that pro-Palestinian protesters chant at their rallies: “Globalize the intifada,” “There is only one solution: intifada revolution” and “From the river to the sea” (short for “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”). While I happen to believe that all three advocate violence against Jews — and that the last one, in its call for a territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea expunged of Israel, tacitly endorses genocide — there are people who sincerely believe that these are pleas for peaceful coexistence.

In addition, many people who spout these phrases are just plain ignorant. There is evidence that a shockingly large number of students now saying “from the river to the sea” seem not to know what the phrase means — or even which river and sea they are referring to. Asking schools to determine whether espousing such phrases constitutes a violation of university policy puts administrators in the untenable position of literary commissars, assessing the true intent of these and sundry other statements.

Regardless of our politics, we should all be wary of giving educational institutions even greater power to enforce regulations barring hate speech (a concept with no standing in American jurisprudence), because we are all at risk of falling afoul of them. Many pro-Israel students and activists reveled in Ms. Stefanik’s grilling of the university presidents, but what is to stop a prohibition against threats of genocide being used to silence them? Accusations that Israel is committing a genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza have been issued repeatedly over the past two months. It doesn’t matter that such claims are utterly baseless. Were abstract expressions of support for genocide to be prohibited on college campuses, any student or invited speaker who supports Israel’s campaign to destroy Hamas could be accused of enabling genocide against Palestinians and subjected to punishment at the whim of some university bureaucrat.

The University of Southern California professor John Strauss was recently accused of racism and xenophobia after he said to a gathering of pro-Palestinian student protesters: “Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are.” After a deceptively edited video containing just the final sentence of his remarks went viral, a petition circulated demanding that Mr. Strauss be fired and the university restricted him to remote teaching for the rest of the semester. (He was eventually allowed to return to campus, and the university maintains that the restrictions were not punitive.)

Americans have been justifiably appalled by the open expression of antisemitism at elite universities in the aftermath of Oct. 7. As troubling as this revelation has been, we can confront the problem only if we have the ability to recognize it. By its nature, censorship obscures; how can we deal with the radicalization of the professoriate and the political indoctrination of their charges if we can’t hear what they have to say?

“The university is the home and sponsor of critics; it is not itself the critic,” declared the Kalven Report, a landmark statement of the value of academic institutional neutrality issued by the University of Chicago in 1967. The report noted that a constructive university experience would necessarily be “upsetting.”

The test for a liberal society is how we deal with that upset, not how we avoid it.

James Kirchick ( @jkirchick ) is the author of “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington,” a contributing writer at Tablet magazine and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

Source photographs by Andyworks and MicroStockHub/Getty Images.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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there should be no homework debate

Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, " You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and...

In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies' Home Journal, decried homework's negative impact on children's physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917.

Ed. Magazine Are You Down With or Done With Homework? Posted January 17, 2012 By Lory Hough The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.

There's been a lot of research and debate on the academic value of homework for school-aged children. The results, although somewhat mixed, generally conclude that homework provides no...

To the Editor: Re " The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong ," by Jay Caspian Kang (Sunday Opinion, July 31): Finland proves that you don't need homework for education success. Students there ...

The Top 100 Photos of 2023 Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time Contact us at [email protected] . Discover the downsides of assigning too much homework...

(Getty Images) How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework...

Even when homework is helpful, there can be too much of a good thing. "There is a limit to how much kids can benefit from home study," Cooper says. He agrees with an oft-cited rule of thumb that students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high ...

In 2003, a pair of national studies found that most American students spent less than an hour daily on homework, and the workload was no bigger than it was 50 years prior. "There is this view in ...

Should homework be banned? - BBC Science Focus Magazine Social media has sparked into life about whether children should be given homework - should students be freed from this daily chore? Dr Gerald Letendre, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, investigates.

And, there are some studies that show homework doesn't have much benefit depending on the age and stage of learners. Homework researcher Professor John Hattie found that homework in primary schools makes no difference to learner achievement. Other activities at home can have just as much educational benefit, such as reading, or baking, or ...

For decades, the homework standard has been a "10-minute rule," which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20...

And then there's homework, which is increasingly assigned to students as young as five. In fact, by high school, the average time teenagers spend on homework is now 3 hours and 58 minutes a night, up from 2 hours and 38 minutes — an increase of 51 percent — over the past several decades.. The reason for this, say pro-homework teachers and administrators, is to raise the scores of U.S ...

Co-authored by Finn Kobler Last Updated: December 6, 2023 Fact Checked The amount of homework students are given has increased dramatically in the 21st century, which has sparked countless debates over homework's overall value.

1. Homework Encourages Practice Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills.

1. It Contributes to Increased Anxiety If there's one word that describes middle-school and high-school students, it's anxiety. In my homework statistics article, I cite research showing that 74% of students cite homework as a source of stress.

Feb 10, 2023 • Homework The dreaded word for students across the country—homework. Homework has long been a source of debate, with parents, educators, and education specialists debating the advantages of at-home study. There are many pros and cons of homework.

The policy should be, "No time-wasting, rote, repetitive tasks will be assigned that lack clear instructional or learning purposes." A realistic homework strategy should be a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year. But it should also reflect a considered school policy and not simply be up ...

He recommends following a "10 minute rule": students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 additional minutes each subsequent year, so that by twelfth grade they are completing 120 minutes of homework daily.

When asked how homework can negatively affect children, Nancy Kalish, author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It, says that many homework assignments are "simply busy work" that makes learning "a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience."

The teacher decides the amount of homework to be given and should do so based on the classroom's and school's needs. After all, all schools are different because no one school serves the same ...

GOP debate fact check: What Haley, Ramaswamy, other Republican candidates got wrong. Amid a flurry of attacks in tonight's final GOP presidential debate, many of the candidates' claims were ...

You are here: Home Research Review Homework or No Homework TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE HOMEWORK…That is the question! The amount of homework students are given differs greatly across grade levels and states. Some students are given hours of work while other students are assigned little or no work to be done at home. So what's appropriate?

The Great Homework Debate By Courtney Snow - February 4, 2020 0 Over the summer, the PTO for my daughter's school was pushing really hard to eliminate homework from elementary school. There were a lot of views brought up, and it was a really good debate.

"Nikki Haley said the other day there should be no limits on legal immigration and that corporate C.E.O.s should set the policy on that." — Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida This requires context.

Biden's policy has had mixed results. This year, there has been a record rise in people displaced globally, and an unprecedented number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border: more than 2. ...

And of course, there was the essay by the historian, Robert Kagan, in The Washington Post that prompted Senator J.D. Vance, Republican of Ohio and a Trump ally, to press the Justice Department to ...

A+. New Delhi: In his first remarks on Wednesday's Parliament security breach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a detailed investigation into the incident. "There is no need to debate this, there should be a detailed investigation," he told Dainik Jagran newspaper in an interview published Saturday.

Campus Speech Codes Should Be Abolished. Dec. 13, 2023. Sam Whitney/The New York Times. By James Kirchick. Mr. Kirchick is the author of "Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington," a ...

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Ghost Hunters

Do you believe in ghosts? Would you purposely visit a place supposedly haunted by the dead? Some people have more than a passing interest in ghosts and ghost stories, and would quickly answer "yes" to both questions. In fact, a number of these enthusiasts are determined to prove that life after death is not only real, but that the dead regularly return to the world of the living. These people are ghost hunters.

Hunting ghosts may sound a little odd. Yet a majority of people in Britain and the US now believe in ghosts. In addition, nearly twenty-five percent claim to have seen a ghost. As a result, there has been a sharp rise in the number of hunters out there. More and more people have taken up this paranormal challenge - to find proof that these spirits are real - as a weekend hobby of sorts. Registered societies and organizations have popped up all around the world, too. And with the Internet, it's easier than ever to enroll in a group and keep in contact with other like-minded individuals via bulletin boards and online newsletters. Perhaps the increased interest comes from sensationalized movies and TV shows with ghosts and ghost hunting as their themes?

Ghost hunters usually operate in the waning hours of night, typically around four in the morning. This is the peak time for ghosts. Many of the spirits, say the hunters, regularly return to this world. The ghosts may have had a problem in life which remains unresolved, and so they feel as though they can't permanently move on to the next world. What's more, many ghosts in people's homes aren't random, wandering spirits. They are actually loved ones.

Many unfamiliar with the idea of hunting ghosts may be surprised at the tools and their level of sophistication. The hunters don't simply sit in a dark room and hope a ghost wanders by. There are a variety of tools regularly used, such as video equipment and motion sensors. There are tools to measure room temperature, as a sudden and inexplicable spot of cold may signal a ghostly presence. There are audio recorders to capture attempts by the dead to verbally communicate with the living. There are even more tools to detect negative ions, radiation, and changes in the magnetic field.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the idea of ghosts. Some believe that ghost hunters are merely charlatans. The hunters claim that ghosts are present in an area, greatly exaggerate the stories, and then conduct tours of the place for a steep price. Even worse, when hunters are called to a home to help, they may point to objects which are supposedly possessed. They take these items, often antiques or family heirlooms, out of the house and to paranormal museums. Again they seek to make a profit because the hunters charge a high price for admission to the museum.

What do you think? Do you want to give ghost hunting a try?


Step 1: You will listen to an article about people who hunt for ghosts. The article is almost 5 minutes long. Listen only, and don't worry about understanding everything. Step 2: Read and understand the questions, then listen again. As you are listening, try to answer the questions in your head. Don't write the answers yet. Next, listen again and write the answers this time. Check your answers with a partner. Step 3: Read the article. Check in your dictionary any unknown words. Now listen again. Can you understand more? Step 4: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to the article on the train or in your free time. Each time you listen, you will slowly improve!

Download the lesson:

  • Ghost Hunters Printable
  • Listen Now!

You might also be interested in:

  • Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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Seen Bigfoot, a UFO or a ghost? Bucks County's first Para-Con may be for you

In the summer of 2022, a father and son traveling Route 611 in the wee hours near the Oaks restaurant in Pipersville saw something strange cross the highway.

"It was an eight-foot shadow. As they got closer, they realized that it was not a deer or anything like that, but a tall, physical, structured thing. And that’s when they said to themselves this could be Bigfoot,” said Eric Mintel, a ghost hunter whose YouTube program, "Eric Mintel Investigates" is based in Bucks County.

“They reached out to me and told me their story,” he said.

But their reluctance to go public scuttled a video interview.

“But they swear by it,” he said.

But the stigma of seeing things like Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts and witnessing otherworldly may diminish on March 9, when Mintel and crew host Para-Con, a nearly day-long paranormal conference at the Zlock Performing Arts Center at the Newtown campus of Bucks County Community College.

Nick Pope, who ran the British government's UFO program, and who has appeared on the History Channel's long-running "Ancient Aliens" series, is the featured speaker. Also appearing will be New York Times bestselling author Bill Birnes who appears on the program "UFO Hunters" and local UFOlogist (and prolific author) Tom Carey, who may be the foremost authority on the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.

Nearly 40 vendors will be there, selling books and taking questions.

"This is really a grass roots effort. We're not getting any kind of sponsorship. It's just us," Mintel said. "We're going to do this every year, but this is our launching pad."

Also making an appearance is Eric Spinner, of Medford, New Jersey, a Bigfoot hunter in the South Jersey Pine Barrens. He'll discuss his close encounters with Squatches, and he has the plaster footprints to show for it.

Seeking Sasquatch When Bigfoot is spotted in New Jersey, he's on the case

There have been at least five documented sightings of Bigfoot (sometimes called Sasquatch) in Bucks County since the mid-1970s, according to the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Project , which tracks and posts sightings of the large, hairy creature. (Bucks County has a local chapter .) Former Rieglesville Mayor Greg Stokes went public in 2021 about what he believes was a close call with the creature while camping in the Pennsylvania wilderness in the 1980s.

“There’s something there,” Mintel said.

“It could be something coming in and out of our reality through some sort of portals, and appears and disappears,” he said.

The idea of creatures ducking in and out of physical reality has been discussed in South Jersey at the Lines on the Pines , and annual gathering in South Jersey to celebrate "Everything Piney," the nearly 1 million acres of wilderness that not only is only home to the Garden State's favorite cryptid, the Jersey Devil, but also Bigfoot.

While most Bigfoot sightings in the U.S. occur in the Pacific Northwest (and, oddly, in the Deep South), encounters with the creature have been reported in New Jersey. Mintel believes he had one last September. He was in the Wharton State Forest in the pines "squatching" with others for an episode of his show, when he and his team of investigators heard a branch crack.

“I flipped around real quick and looked in the direction that it was coming from, and I could see yellow eyes for a split second, and then they disappeared," he said. "We could hear something running back toward a swamp area. So, this was something that was watching us.”

Things got weird.

“We completely got zapped,” he said. “All of our equipment, everything lost power.”

Camera lights, phones, an Apple watch, and the myriad devices he uses to detect electromagnetic changes (the calling card of the paranormal), went dark, suddenly and mysteriously drained of power.

“Completely burned out,” he said. “There was some kind of energy force, but what it was, we don’t know.”

“It was a weird night. After that, we left,” he said.

If you want to attend the March 9, 2024 Para-Con, it will be Saturday March 9, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Zlock Performing Arts Center. You can get tickets here , or go to ericmintelinvestigates.org.

JD Mullane can be reached at 215-949-5745 or at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Bucks County to host first Para-Con for ghost, UFO, Bigfoot fans

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Hunter Schafer Looks Like the Ghost of Hollywood Future

webenglish the ghost hunter

Sheer fabric to show off the body on the red carpet? It’s getting a bit tired. But a sheer look that brings a dramatic, ethereal, haunted glamour? Well, just look at what Hunter Schafer wore to the 81st annual Golden Globes and you’ll know it’s instantly in.

The Euphoria and Hunger Games star wore a custom Prada gown in a slight ballet slipper shade. Underneath, it’s a simple column gown—but of course, the yards of diaphanous fabric that seem to float around her body give the dress its power. She looks like a glamour cobweb…the phantom of all the Victorian children you couldn’t kill…the ghost of Hollywood future?

Although created specifically for Schaefer, the gown takes notes from Prada’s recent spring 2024 collection, where co–creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons used translucent fabric to create hazy apparitions around several dresses.

Hunter Schafer at the 81st Golden Globe Awards.

Schafer is on hand to present tonight (and to serve on the red carpet). The former runway model has always demanded attention on the step and repeat, but she’s stepped into another level over the past year—particularly with the string of dramatic outfits she wore while promoting The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes .

While Euphoria may not be back until 2025 at the earliest, Schafer does have a string of film projects in the works, including an appearance in Yorgos Lanthimos’s next film, Kinds of Kindness , alongside Emma Stone, as well as the movies Mother Mary and Cuckoo .

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    Ghost hunters usually operate in the waning hours of night, typically around four in the morning. This is the peak time for ghosts. Many of the spirits, say the hunters, regularly return to this world. The ghosts may have had a problem in life which remains unresolved, and so they feel as though they can't permanently move on to the next world. ...

  23. Seen Bigfoot, a UFO or a ghost? Bucks County's first Para-Con may be

    JD Mullane can be reached at 215-949-5745 or at [email protected]. This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Bucks County to host first Para-Con for ghost, UFO, Bigfoot fans. View comments. Bucks County ghost hunter Eric Mintel will host the first all-day Para-Con at Bucks County Community College on March 9.

  24. Hunter Schafer Looks Like the Ghost of Hollywood Future

    Well, just look at what Hunter Schafer wore to the 81st annual Golden Globes and you'll know it's instantly in. The Euphoria and Hunger Games star wore a custom Prada gown in a slight ballet ...

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