New No Homework Policy Will Ruin Your Kid’s Chance For A Successful Career

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family frolicBecause kids these days aren’t coddled enough already, more and more schools are implementing no homework polices. Parents may be envisioning laughter-filled family meals, but all I can imagine this leading to is more time for video games, more Facebook surfing, and adult children who ultimately end up living at home.

The policy is being tested by schools throughout the nation in an effort to accommodate parents who say their children need more free time at night. Some schools are eliminating homework all together, some assign homework that doesn’t count towards your final grade and other are asking students to read for a certain amount of time each night as their homework obligation.

Principal Stephanie Brant of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland says, “We felt like with the shift to the Common Core curriculum, and our knowledge of how our students need to think differently… we wanted their time to be spent in meaningful ways.”

Did you hear that Common Core haters? The schools are sick of your whining about having to help with homework and are hoping this “what happens at school, stays at school” policy will shut you up.

In case my contempt for this no homework trend isn’t clear, let me spell if out- I think eliminating homework is a awful idea, and I am not just saying that because I was the nerdy girl who dragged my mother to shop for back to school every year as soon as August arrived. In my elementary school, the fourth grade teacher was famous for two things – always wearing pink and giving a ton of homework. Almost every year the parents would complain to the school and the school always defended her when she said we were capable of the work load. Was it tough? Of course. But with a mother who urged me to do the work myself, I came out of the year more organized, with better time management skills and a strong sense of self-confidence in my own abilities.

Etta Kralovec, an associate professor of teacher education at the University of Arizona South and co-author of The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning says, “Kids are at school 7 or 8 hours a day, that’s a full working day and why should they have to take work home?”

If having recess and snack time constitutes part of a full work day, to whom shall I direct my resume? I joke of course, but snarking aside, eliminating homework doesn’t do kids any favors in the long run.

Careers in this country are shifting away from the traditional 9-5 model. With parents looking for flexible work schedules to spend more time at home and the rise in popularity of self-starter companies thanks to websites like Kickstarter, by teaching kids that work ends the moment you step outside school, we do them a disservice that can leave them unprepared for life as a working adult in today’s economy.

Having the time to have a family dinner is great when your kids are living at home, but what does a no homework policy do to prepare students for college? Colleges aren’t hopping on the no homework bandwagon so unless you plan on being a helicopter parent and getting an off campus apartment, how can we expect college freshman to navigate college life, living on their own for the first time and homework assignments that they’ve never had before? I don’t see how a no homework policy sets them up for anything other than failure.

Since college I’ve worked as a law clerk, practiced as an attorney and am currently a freelance writer. I can say with all confidence that I have never been able to leave my job without taking work home with me. This idea that students will magically be able to handle working on their own once they reach adulthood seems like the start of a “why I still live with my parents at age thirty” narrative. Call me pessimistic, but if this no homework trend spreads to my school district, any plans I have to decorate the basement will include a pull-out couch and a mini fridge.


(Image: goodluz/Shutterstock)