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Opinion: American Children Could Have Too Much Homework

Etta Kralovec writes her case for taking homework out of schools on CNN.com. Kralovec is associate professor of teacher education and director of graduate teacher education at the University of Arizona South.

She shared that the debate over how much homework is too much has been ongoing in America since the 1920s.

They argued that children need between six to seven hours a day of fresh air and sunshine. In the 1930s, editor Edward Bok of the Ladies Home Journal also called for an end to the practice. For the rest of the 20th century, different research reports were used to support or dismiss the practice, yet it persists despite the lack of clarity on its educational value.

Homework’s negative effects include taking away from family time and potentially increasing obesity as children are required to sit inside finishing sometimes hours of schoolwork.

In the meantime, Finnish children have very little homework and Finland has a renowned educational system, the article noted. In Quebec, homework has been eliminated for children in grade one to six for year. 

Could similar bans on homework in America be far behind? In Los Angeles, according to Kralovec, there was a movement to decrease the weight of homework to only 10 percent of a student’s grade. When opponents balked, the percentage went to 20 percent. This back and forth is seen across the country. Some parents and experts are concerned that lessening homework’s importance could decrease students’ competence in certain subjects. Quite often some skills need to be practiced at home, such as memorizing math facts.

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