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Too Much Homework? Or Just Enough? [POLL/AUDIO]

Lots of New Jersey students and perhaps some parents think too much homework is being given every night, but a new report finds that’s probably not the case.

students, schoolwork
Brendan Hoffman, Getty Images

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Tom Loveless, who authored the Brown Center Report on American Education for the Brookings Institution, reviewed what he described as a variety of studies and surveys, including one by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

He made a somewhat surprising discovery.

“Homework hasn’t really changed very much over the last 30 years,” Loveless said. “The homework load just doesn’t look terribly oppressive.”

He said for parents with kids in middle school and high school, “the median response as to how much homework the children have is one hour a night.”

He was quick to add, however, that in some instances that is not true.

“There are kids that have a lot of homework, and I’ll just define a lot of homework right now as more than two hours, but they’re very few in number,” Loveless said. “At age 9 for example, 5 percent of the kids have more than two hours a night, so it’s not typical at all. At age 13, 7 percent, and even at age 17 — and these are high school seniors mostly — only 13 percent had more than two hours per night.”

Loveless also said while a minority of parents complain about too much homework, “more parents actually say they would like to see more homework than those who say they would like to see less.”

Interestingly, it seems we’ve been hearing about homework complaints for quite a long time.

“The very first anti-homework movement in the United States began in the year 1900, so over a hundred years ago,” Loveless said, “and that actually led to the state of California banning homework for all children under the age of 15 for a time.”

According to Lawless, these anti-homework movements crop up in America every 10 to 20 years.

“I think what happens is, when people have concerns about schooling in general, they bring homework into the picture,” Lawless said.

But still, many surveys find most people think homework loads are quite reasonable, and they’re satisfied with the standard amount of assigned homework.


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