So a letter a teacher sent home with her students, declaring her homework policy was to have no homework, has been making the rounds on the internet and causing quite the stir. I considered entitling this piece “Crowder Is a Linguini-Spined Special Snowflake Destroying America Through His Celebration of Laziness,” but it seemed both a little harsh and a touch long. Now I’d seen this letter floating around, but was content to ignore it until Crowder posted this piece which caused me to become severely triggered.
Yes, family is important. It is important that parents actually act like parents, actually act like the adults they supposedly are and ensure their children do their homework and study diligently to achieve their full potential while learning valuable life lessons about work, effort, and expectations. And this should happen irrespective of the actions of any outside, especially government, entity. Parents do not require direction, let alone permission, from a state agency in order to be parents.
Or rather, they should not require it. Because the sad truth is that parenting is not just fun and games and being your child’s friend, teaching life lessons and providing discipline is hard work. And while the rewards for both parent and child are abundant when they achieve results, we have become a society increasingly averse to hard work. What we see with all the parents cheering this viral letter is the inevitable result of the special snowflake, coddled, helicopter parented generation now raising the next generation. Likewise for the teacher. Whether she intends it or not, the effective results of her policy are sheer laziness, reducing the work expected of her and her students, not wanting to be the bad guy but the fun teacher, and the exact same mentality as participation trophies so everyone feels better instead of striving for more.
And before Steven or anyone else gets themselves triggered and worked into a lather, yes I read the story and know this particular teacher teaches second grade. No, I don’t care. Because the assault on homework is not new and is gaining increasingly absurd acceptance. The idea that “research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance” is prima facie idiocy on numerous levels. First, on the historical. Homework invented the light bulb, camera, and airplane. It sent a man to the Moon and a robot to Mars. It created the internet and a device to fit in everyone’s pocket with which to connect. But now, all of a sudden, someone has decided homework is at best worthless, but probably counter-productive. Secondly, on the observational. “Practice makes perfect” used to be an accepted mantra. In fact, it still is if you take a quick glance at athletes, soldiers, artists, or just about anyone else who rigorously practice their craft or even a hobby in order to make themselves better. But somehow, all of a sudden, school work doesn’t follow this accepted rule. Finally, foundationally. The very idea that we require “research” to confirm the easily understood and long accepted truths portends our final descent into technocratic Idiocracy. Do we also need research to discover water is wet? Probably, and with a nice fat government grant to help us along. If studies do indeed show homework is no longer working, then might it be students are not proficient with the base material in the first place and haven’t been since the federal government took over the education system in 1979?
Our culture has skidded so far off course we too eagerly and too frequently applaud anything which pretends to resemble sanity without first looking deeper and asking pertinent questions. For decades parents were told their input and attention was not necessary, just let the state take care of things when it came to your child’s education and caring for them at school. After awhile, “not necessary” became “not wanted”, and when parents began to wake up and take note of the situation they were told to butt out and leave things to the experts who know better. Experts who require numerous studies to determine if homework is effective. So when someone comes along and says something we should all already know, parents are important, and tells us to do something we should already be doing, spending time with their kids, it’s such a breath of fresh air in a pungent world it results in a standing ovation. Yet before you stand and applaud, look closer and see what principles it supports or betrays and ask if it really is a good thing.