My thanks to "My Two Cents" fan Barton Pritzl for providing me with the story that inspires today's feature:
Children in France are on the edge of their seats with excitement, as their President--Francois Hollande--unveils his new education reform platform--and it includes a ban on homework. Yes, French kids could be freed from the scourge of childhood--having to do math problems, book reports or science assignments before plopping down in front of the TV for six hours.
And why does Hollande want to ban homework? Not because French students are already in school eight hours a day (8:30 to 4:30) four days a week. Not because kids are getting back injuries hauling all of their textbooks home every night. Not because seven year olds can vote in France. No, he believes homework is unfair to low-income kids. You see, the generally-held belief is that children from upper-class families (The Bourgeois) get help from their parents at night--while kids from working-class families (The Proletariat) are on their own to figure things out.
(Wait a minute, I thought the Social Democracy of France had eliminated the "lower-class". They have high tax rates on the rich, health care for everyone, government subsidies for everything and everyone--not to mention renewable energy and high-speed rail. How can their still be low-income families?)
President Hollande is even quoted as saying “An education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school, rather than at home,”
And there you have the roots of the liberal belief on education. "Don't try to teach your kids anything at home. We are the experts here. Trust us to teach your kids what they really need to know--like the Founding Fathers were rich bigots, polar bears will die if you drive a gas-powered car, and if you want to have sex at the age of 12, we will give you the condoms and the 'morning after' pills without you having to tell your parents."
What's more, homework is as much about additional learning as it is about learning to handle responsibility. I don't remember my college professors telling us to do all of our reading and assignments during class hours only. No wonder freshman failure rates are so high in college today.
And believe it or not, a lot of us adults have to do work at home. I remember my father getting phone calls throughout the night to deal with computer issues at the office--or logging onto the internet to fix problems from home. Both my wife and I have spent hours catching up on stuff that we couldn't get done during the regular work day. (Of course, this may be why we aren't "economically disadvantaged")
So while kids may rejoice at the idea of getting an extra hour or two of video game playing time after school, parents should be concerned about this "no homework" idea--because the only thing we'll be teaching them is that personal accountability is somehow inherently "unfair".