Homework Briefing Room


Homework-BR The Senior Dad San Francisco Briefing Room broadcasts stories about parenting and education as it relates to people in San Francisco.  Parents from other parts of the country may find stories here that relate to their part of the country as well. As a parent you are your child's best hope, other parents are your best hope. We learn together.


Homework can be a very divisive issue. It pits parents against children. It sets up uncomfortable conferences between teachers and parents. There are different ways of viewing the value of homework depending on your economic or ethnic backgrounds. In recent literature, particularly in the United States, there have been scores of books denouncing the value of homework. In this show Senior Dad Stan Goldberg speaks with Richard Walker of the University of Sydney Australia about his new book “Reforming Homework” and what his views are pertaining to the value of homework and how it should be viewed. Definitely a different slant than most education reformers have been hearing and the point of view that should be considered. Richard Walker, Reforming Homework.

Is there any value to homework? Adam Maltese from Indiana University has released a new study that analyses the time students spend on homework and how they perform on standardized tests and how homework effects their grades. He joins Senior Dad Stan Goldberg to discuss his study and teaching methods related to homework and training the teachers he educates.

Sara Bennett co-authored “The Case Against Homework” with Nancy Kalish. Both have been guests on my show in the past. On this show I share with Sara some of my homework wins and losses and she shares with us what the last 3 years running stophomework.com was like.

Mel Levine of allkindsofminds.org gives us his views on homework
Harris Cooper of Duke University has analyzed 40 years of homework research and shares with us what he has learned
So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil-or even demand a larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning and a misguided focus on competitiveness has left our kids with less free time, and our families with more conflict. Pointing to stories of parents who have fought back-and schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework-Kohn demonstrates how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children’s love of learning.Senior Dad Stan Goldberg does his homework
Amanda Cockshutt is a PhD, a university professor, a parent, and an advocate for parent’s rights. She lives in eastern Canada and has worked with her local schools to gain a voice for restoring family time. We chat about language immersion programs, homework, child discipline, and teacher re-education. Amanda exposes us to some evolutionary ideas and actions by some progressive educators. Amanda Cockshutt, moving forward softly.
Nancy Kalish is an education activist. She frequently appears on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. She co-authored “The Case Against Homework” with Sara Bennett, a contributor to Senior Dad.  In conversation with Stan Goldberg she alerts us to a key reason our teens seem to be asleep the first period of the day.  After that she fills us in on what’s been happening around the country as homework policies change, including new ideas about school work at home and why some of our children are not learning to love to read.  These topics and more in “Nancy Kalish—Unvarnished Truth”.
In the well-behaved community of San Marino California where 60-70% of the students have after-school tutors, there is discontent brewing. Although the school district boasts the highest API scores in the state, there are rumblings that the high school students are not getting into the best colleges that their scores would indicate. A relentless regime of homework has stripped away family time and enrichment. Tracy Mason is upset about the effect that homework is having on her daughter. Tracy made an in-depth analysis of all the available studies about homework and was startled to find that homework does not increase learning as it chips away at parental rights. She has embarked on a project to change her school district’s homework policy. At her first meeting over 60 parents attended. This is a school district that many families have cultural traditions that value vast amounts of homework. She already has been threatened and verbally attacked for speaking out in this typically quiet community. Tracy and the other parents who seek change will not cower as they show their children how to stand up for their parental rights. Part one of a long journey.
The truth, according to Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish, is that there is almost no evidence that homework helps elementary school students achieve academic success and little evidence that it helps older students. Yet the nightly burden is taking a serious toll on America’s families. It robs children of the sleep, play, and exercise time they need for proper physical, emotional, and neurological development. And it is a hidden cause of the childhood obesity epidemic, creating a nation of “homework potatoes.” Senior Dad Stan Goldberg chats with Sara Bennett and learns what the value of homework is.

Many professional educators portrayed reducing homework as a dangerous idea, while at the same time parents and teachers increasingly raised doubts as to its continued usefulness in education. According to John Buell, the importance of play is culturally underappreciated. Not only grade schoolers, but high school students and adult workers deserve time for the kind of leisure that fosters creativity and sustains a life long interest in learning.Homework is assigned for many reasons, many having little to do with learning, including an accepted, if unchallenged, belief that it fosters good work habits for children's futures.
As John Buell argues convincingly, homework does more to obstruct the growth of children's minds, and consumes the time of parents and children who may otherwise develop relationships that foster true growth and learning. John Buell on homework: Homework does not convey the academic benefits its proponents promise.As currently constituted, [it] is a largely ineffective and overly burdensome practice. It not only creates especially serious barriers for poor families but also unnecessarily limits other forms of personal development and leisure time that are essential even to education and working life themselves.