One New York City elementary school recently announced that they would stop giving homework to students and instead encourage them to learn on their own, spend time with family, or even play with friends.
This bold and unique step is intended to get students more interested in learning by not overwhelming them with tedious and pointless busy-work. Some traditionally minded parents are upset, but many representatives of P.S (Public School) 116 on East 33rd Street say that there is no proof that homework has any positive effect on a student’s learning, and that it may in fact cause them to lose interest.
According to the school’s principal, Jane Hsu, “The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established. They include: children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”
Hsu explained in a letter sent home to parents that school administrators spent over a year studying the effects of homework on a child’s psychology as well as their academic scores.
“In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success,” Hsu explained.
Speaking with Heather Holland of DNAinfo, Hsu said that P.S 116 is hoping to redefine homework altogether.
“We are excited that we are redefining the landscape of homework — but we are certainly not eliminating homework. We are creating opportunities for students and their families to engage in activities that research has proven to benefit academic and social-emotional success in the elementary grades. We look forward to seeing the positive impact our newly-designed homework options will have on our students and their families,” Hsu said.
Repetitious training exercises are also hidden within the basic structure of a school day. In America children are forced to “pledge allegiance” to the flag every single day, this exercise is designed to implant nationalistic tendencies into the conscious mind of the student. Demanding students to walk in a straight line or ask before going to the bathroom is a more subtle form of training, however it also sets them up to “fall in line” when they graduate school and move on with their lives.
Homework is given so students are so consumed with the mandated material that they have no time to learn anything on their own. Later, when they get out of school their curiosity is totally destroyed and they no longer have any desire to learn anything at all because they associate learning with the forced repetitious bore that public schooling is. Students leave school thinking that they have already learned everything of importance in the world, and they look forward to being relieved of the stress that they now associate with learning.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.