No homework equates to no minds
**This can be found also at All American Blog, where I am a contributing author.**
I was speaking with a friend of mine recently and I was told something that makes no sense. The more I thought about it the more I realized that this idiocy is rampant and pervasive. What was the cause of this insight? Whether people understand the word excerpt.
As many readers may know, I write for multiple blogs (including Black Entertainment USA, Presidential Race Blog, Children’s Health Blog and others) and in some cases (like my myspace blog) I use excerpts to summarize a post I made at another blog. It’s not unique. But often I see people responding to the partial content as opposed to actually reading the blog post. As such they fail to get the actual point of the post.
This led me to the aforementioned comment to my friend. I was told by this parent of 3 that it’s not a word used much. That it’s not a word that is really taught anymore. Which amazed me as I thought this was a basic word, and a 5th grade level word at that. It appears I am wrong.
But as the conversation continued, it brought up the fact that a new school in the Binghamton NY area does not give children homework. I was stupefied. I could not believe it. But then I thought about it. How often have we heard news reports stating that schools are cutting back on homework, to lighten the stress and workload of children?
It’s absolute idiocy, in my opinion. No homework or miniscule amounts of it? Why? Because we think that 8 hours of being in school is enough to educate our children. I hardly think so.
The world may have become smaller, and technology faster, since I was in school but knowledge has not gotten easier to consume. Learning advanced mathematics, or proper use of the English language requires practice and understanding. A mere 45 minutes in a single class or 2 hardly qualifies as sufficient time to absorb the tenants of complex thoughts.
So in effect we are raising our children to become idiots. Already I have heard, and seen in blogs and comments, people using text/instant message shorthand in place of actual words. I’ve seen misspelled and misused words. I’ve noticed completely made up words, or street slang, used in place of actual words. And it’s only getting worse.
A recent protest in Chicago was made because
“According to the National Association for Educational Progress, the average 17-year-old African American student has the reading and math score of a 14-year-old white student.”
That is not acceptable. Nor is such failures to educate limited to African Americans or minorities. Though it may be more prominent and obvious in these groups.
Limited vocabularies restrict the ability to communicate, which limits the ability to form more complex thoughts. Words are merely the expression of thoughts in the mind. Limit the expression you limit the mind. Such a scenario is anything but in the best interest of our children or America.
I have to ask, whom does limited homework benefit? Everyone I am aware of above the age of 30 took home homework. It didn’t stress us out, or impede our ability to perform in life. I would counter that it in fact helped us. So how does the lack of this provide benefit?
And if our kids are being given all this free time, what are they filling it with? What else is burdening the children of today such that they can’t handle learning what the word excerpt means, or how to use the Pythagorean theorm, or what the real primary causes of the Civil War were. They have an extra hour of PS3, or instant messaging (IM) their friends on the computer? They can watch another movie on DVD, or TIVO. They can sit on a couch and surf through 495 more channels of television than when I was growing up.
Seriously where is the massive stress? When I was 13 I started working on weekends. By the time I was 18 I worked the entire summer vacation, before school, and after I was done with classes. [To be clear, I worked the morning selling the NY Times to the teachers, students and classes in my school. I was in an advanced program and spent afternoons attending classes at CUNY, and when I didn’t have clases there – as well as weekends – I worked downtown making patterns in the garment industry.] I graduated 6th in my class. I also forgot to mention I was in the Concert Wind Ensemble, and vice-president of my schools ASPIRA organization. I wasn’t stressed, nor was my girlfriend.
I wasn’t bogged down with the burden of anything. So what in a world of computer spell-checked and printed book reports, calculators allowed in math class, Google enabled kids is stressful?