School's in!

And I was almost unboundedly grateful until I remembered the homework wars that are to come. Fortunately for me, I now know that I'm fighting in vain, via this Salon article (Premium, I think):

"I had an eye-opening interview with Harris Cooper at Duke University. He looked at 180 studies on homework and found that there was only a very tiny correlation between homework and achievement in elementary school, measured either in grades or on achievement tests; a minor correlation in middle school; and still only a moderate correlation in high school. And after kids started doing more than two hours a night, [even the moderate correlation] plummeted. It's very counterintuitive. It's hard to get parents and teachers to accept; you think more has to be better. Not true."
Naturally I have a crackpot theory about all this homework: that the amount and complexity of it -- which practically demands parental help, at least at my kids' elementary school, at least if you have boys -- is a function of smaller family size. You'd never be able to get away with it if everybody had six or so kids like they did, even in my day. The parents, toughened by having six or so kids, would murder the administrators.

This theory does not preclude the obvious reason there's so much homework nowadays: i.e., we take all our anxiety about societal problems and dump them on the schools in lieu of solving them.

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