It started with this:
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First of all, most of my argument revolves around a very simple idea. Homework is a tool. Used well, it's a tool that can be effective. It seems to be simplistic and irresponsible to arbitrarily throw a tool out.
But there are other parts of his argument that I strongly disagree with or am flat-out offended by. Foremost #3:
3. Inequitable Situation: I have some students who go home to parents that can provide additional support. I have others who go home and babysit younger siblings while their single parent works a second shift. I have some who don’t have adequate lighting, who constantly move and who lose electricity on a regular basis. Call those excuses if you want. I’ll call it systemic injustice instead.Correct me if I'm wrong, but we as teachers should be trying to maximize learning for every student. To that end, we should exploit every advantage and learning opportunity we can find. Sure it sucks that some of our students have better parents than others. It sucks that some do not have support at home. It sucks it sucks it sucks. Royally pisses me off, actually.
But the way to remedy this isn't by neutralizing the advantages some have. It's by working hard to compensate for the privations of those lacking. Provide extra support for students and families. That's the way to maximize learning for all.
Now John would suggest that there are better ways: optional homework for parents that request it; voluntary project-based homework; optional extensions; provide workshops to parents who'd like to engage their children at home. Well I'm sorry these are great ideas but if you are eliminating homework in the name of equity, these undercut that argument.
I will thoroughly agree with John that homework is often poorly articulated and poorly targeted, and this can lead to a demotivating situation that erodes a natural desire to learn. But this is completely fixable through careful thought by practitioners. Fix it, don't throw it out.
Finally, John asserts that kids are busy and they need to play. True story. But kid or adult, we need to manage our time and priorities appropriately. Those students who prioritize poorly should be provided with support.
That's not to say kids should have mass quantities of homework every night. Play is important and valuable. All I'm saying is that the blanket elimination of homework is a simplistic solution to a complex problem.