At the beginning of this school year, a story about a Texas elementary school teacher banning homework went viral. A whole wave of schools followed suit. Soon, teachers from Portland, Oregon to Farmington, Minnesota started sending kids home without nightly assignments. Hell, even an entire Massachusetts school district planning to do away with homework completely. It’s like they read that Shel Silverstein poem and took it literally.
What they did read were scores of articles and books claiming that homework has no academic benefit. But there’s really only one expert behind the articles: Dr. Harris Cooper. In the mid-80s, Cooper, a Professor Of Psychology at Duke University, reviewed nearly every study on homework to see if its academic benefit could be proven. He released the results in 1989 and updated them in 2006. So every time you see an article about homework use the phrase “research shows,” it’s almost certainly referring to those 2 studies. Yet Cooper says his research has been grossly misrepresented and he’s #teamhomework all the way. Here, Cooper explains how it all came to this and why, despite your kids’ objections, homework should always be a part of school.