French president pushes homework ban

In the name of egalite, French President Francois Hollande wants to ban homework. “He doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get help from their parents at home while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t,” writes Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post.

Hollande also proposes hiring more teachers and adding a half day of school on Wednesday, while shortening the eight-hour school day — which includes two hours for lunch — on the other four days of the week.

Currently, French children spend Wednesdays in state-run “leisure centers,” if there’s no parent or babysitter at home, AP reports. At some schools, the “afterschool program amounts to sitting silently at a desk for two hours or near-chaos in the play areas

French elementary school students spend 847 hours per year in school compared to an average of 774 for other developed nations, but “France ranks below most of its European neighbors and the United States in results on international tests.”


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  1. What a shame. It’s the kids from less-fortunate backgrounds who benefit the most from the extra practice. Neither my parents, nor my husband and I, “helped” with homework; we just made sure there was a clear spot at a table and the TV was off.

  2. It’s amazing what can be justified in the name of ‘fairness.’ Can’t wait until someone just takes kids away from their parents and sends them to education camps.

  3. dangermom says:

    The parents who help their kids with their homework are thinking “Oh good, now we’ll have time to do educational things we’ve never had time for before!” You can’t legislate ambitious parents into not trying to prepare their children for the future.

    • ” You can’t legislate ambitious parents into not trying to prepare their children for the future.”
      You’d think that, but I used to think that we couldn’t be legislated into buying health insurance.

  4. Concerned parents will help their children succeed. No ban on homework will prevent that. Homework bans can prevent teachers from assigning grades for work that parents performed.
    After my first few years as a teacher I did not assign homework, for several reasons: (a) I did not know who did it, (b) if I didn’t grade it, students would not do it, while since I couldn’t assign much weight to it, it was not worth the time I spent grading it, and (c) classtime (four 1-hour periods per week) sufficed for the material that schools hired me to impart. That was Math. History or English teachers might differ.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      I didn’t grade homework, but I did check to make sure students had at least tried to do it. The course I taught really required more practice than was possible in the amount of class time I had. If I didn’t check homework, students’ performance noticeably suffered.

  5. So: France ranks below other Euro nations scholastically. And the new president thinks banning homework is going to help that, and somehow make it more “fair” for kids with uninvolved parents?

    I shudder to imagine this idea crossing the Atlantic…

    • molloaggie says:

      Oh, I think it has already. When this was announced my ABC news feed on facebook carried the article. The comments were overwhelming in favor of the ban. It seems that many parents now know that homework doesn’t improve a lot of kids’ ability so they’re willing to toss it. They fail to recognize other benefits homework gives their children like self-discipline, good study habits, and the ability to learn and analyze without being led hand and foot.

  6. And so, the death of the Western world continues…