French Government Moves To Ban Homework To Achieve Social Equality

French President François Hollande has attracted considerable international attention in his new tax policies including a 75% tax rate for super wealthy citizens. Now, Hollande is moving to eradicate another inequity between wealthy and non-wealthy families: homework. Hollande believes that homework exacerbates the unfairness since wealthier parents have greater ability to work with their children at night than do average working parents.

Hollande stressed that “[a]n education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school, rather than at home” to alleviate any unfairness.

There are good reasons to question the utility of homework and the loss of free time for our children. I happen to believe strongly in homework but I share the concern over the loss of time for our kids to simply relax and be kids. However, the suggestion that homework is yet another socio-economic unfairness is wrong in my view. Plenty of working class parents spend time with their kids on homework. Indeed, there is a well-based view of many immigrant and working-class families pushing their children harder to excel in schools. Affluent families often do not reflect the same sense of urgency and commitment. It is also, in my view, bizarre that France would seek to “even the playing field” by shrinking it. Homework allows kids to work under the supervision of their parents who have the greatest levels of influence. It is not easy. With four kids, Leslie and I find it increasingly tough to get through everyone’s assignments. However, it keeps us informed of their progress and allows us to address gaps in their classroom learning. With large public school classes, such gaps are common as teachers are spread thin in class.

To Hollande’s credit, he is also calling for more public teachers and resources — as opposed to our country which continues to diminishment our commitment to public education.

Source: Washington

32 thoughts on “French Government Moves To Ban Homework To Achieve Social Equality”

  1. Elizabeth Juanita Campbell said:

    “I do not believe that it is up to the Government to decide who will, or not do homework.”



    Amen, Ms. Campbell, and let those of like minds shout it from the belfry.

    Because, when those of political bent are allowed to sit at the adult table on family decisions for the rest of us, what is the inevitable return? We get proclamations as shaky as a Southern California fault line, i.e.:

    > Whereas, the top X percent of any species has advantages that others don’t have, and,

    > Whereas, the offspring of said X percent are – by sheer luck of birth – blessed with enviable gifts that benefit the species, and

    > Whereas, Mankind was fashioned in the image & likeness of the Creator, we proclaim,

    >Therefore, that homo sapien exceptionalism means inherent laws of natural hierarchies do not apply to humans.

    I submit that we will evolve far more successfully, if & when we recognize that mankind will never change the shape of the pyramid. .

  2. Leveling the playing field by dumbing down the masses works exactly . . . where?

    I suspect in most cases it achieves precisely the opposite of the intended consequence, which may well mean that not hurting anybody’s feelings is priority one.

    Here’s an attempt at deodorizing stinky-think on our side of the pond:

    I’d say lunacy in our public safety policies are at least as important as French kid’s homework, or the lack thereof.

  3. I do not believe that it is up to the Government to decide who will, or not do homework. This is a fundamental right of parents regardless of whatever social stratum they are on!
    If school work which reinforces, cements and allows “internalization” of concepts aids children (and smart parents know this), then soon, the under-class would catch on, thus approving and allowing this along with other activities such as karate, piano lessons, volunteering etc.

  4. Kids needs to be kids, teachers needs to be teachers and parents needs to be parents.
    The school should and must assign a part of the class time for doing the assigned “homework ” just it should be called classwork. Nobody is closer to the subjects but the teacher who assigned it nobody can watch and give a helping hand but the teachers who taught the subject. Don’t burden the parents or invest in tutors. When kids comes home they should unwind and play Lego, read books or do outdoor activities, or whatever relaxes them. When they are done with middle school and going to high school they should be ” weened ” and do the class work in designated areas ( Libraries ) Home should be the place where you gather for meals and conversations and free time. Also moms and dads should not bring home their work either.

  5. It does teach you to work on your own (although I guess study hall might do the same thing.)

  6. “…there is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school. For younger students, in fact, there isn’t even a correlation between whether children do homework (or how much they do) and any meaningful measure of achievement. At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied. Meanwhile, no study has ever substantiated the belief that homework builds character or teaches good study habits.”

  7. Gene:

    I remember when the French gov’t decided not to be a full participant in the Iraq war and some members of our congress were incensed to the point of making a mockery of themselves by censoring many things French; the most famous being the Freedom Fries action.

    My solution would have been to ask congress to send the Statue of Liberty back to France, might as well–why stop with french fries?

    You are right that we are much more kindred with France than many people realize. The animosity does not help. We don’t hear the French citizens criticizing us for what could be seen in their minds as abandoning them when the Suez Crisis ensued. It is true that the French gov’t has gotten itself into some losing positions, and it might be fun among friends to joke about this. Yet, as far as national policies are concerned at the very least it is better to have more friends than enemies. Even if the leadership of either country can be chumps at times.

  8. What Mike S. said in general, but I will have to credit Hollande for balancing the tactic with hiring more teachers. However, it is addressing the symptoms and not the social ill proper.

    Also, we may have save the French’s bacon in WWII, but they saved ours in the American Revolution. Without French aid, the Revolution would have been materially choked out by British blockades and several important battles could have gone the other way.

    A lot of people tend to gloss over that bit of Franco-American history.

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