Staff Editorial– Why Homework Should Be Banned
March 10, 2021
In Michigan, students are required to attend school for 1,098 hours a year. Along with this, students are required to balance school with a social life, hobbies, and homework. For many teens, this is extremely overwhelming. This leaves us wondering, is homework actually beneficial?
We believe that it isn’t. For many kids, after-school activities and sports take up a good portion of our evenings, and no one wants to be up, working on homework, late at night. Many teachers think that 15 minute of homework each night isn’t bad, but if each core teacher and one of your elective teachers assigned 15 minutes each night, you would have an hour and 15 minutes each night. If 5 of your teachers assigned 20 minutes, it would take you an hour and 40 minutes. That is WAY too much. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk for many health and behavior problems.” And the amount of sleep middle schoolers should get? 8 to 10 hours– ideally 9 or 10. Out of 133 East Middle students, 21.8% of students get nine to ten hours of sleep, while 26.3% of students get about eight hours on the average school night. That leaves 51.9% of students to get less than eight hours of sleep, 12.8% of which get less than six average hours of sleep. The effects of losing all one hour of sleep to homework or studying can have catastrophic consequences on sleep schedules and the amount of energy teens have. Just over 70% of the 133 students we surveyed said the homework sometimes or normally causes them to lose hours of sleep.
Homework doesn’t only deprive students of sleep, it also causes frustration and stress in students. A 2013 Stanford University Study found that high achieving students that spend too much time on homework, “experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance and even alienation from society.” Not to mention the frustration and anger that many students feel from hard problems. We have all been there, it’s 11:30 and you’re crying over a math problem you can’t seem to solve. Those feelings can pull students down and allow negative emotions to spin out of control.
Part of that frustration is that sometimes you don’t know the answer or even where to start. For example, some teachers may teach a certain way to solve a problem, but when you go home, you might not remember and solve it incorrectly. This just creates bad habits– a very slippery slope of bad habits. Once you have done something that wrong way, it can be very hard to correct the mistake. Although some might say that students should just take notes, or that student should pay more attention, it’s totally possible to do that, and still struggle with homework.
And speaking of the place where students go for 7 hours a day, don’t they work hard enough there? During school, students attend 6 different classes (plus advisory). Going to school isn’t easy, as most students have to get up at 6:30 or earlier to leave for school. At school, there are assignments after assignments, some more stressful than others. The only actual break you get is for lunch and the 10 minute break, but other than that it’s all work. And as East Middle School Trojans, we work hard in school, and shouldn’t have to at home.
Asking for our attention and best effort during the 7 hours we are in school is okay, but for an hour afterschool, that’s not okay; and many East Middle School students agree. Out of the 149 students we surveyed 57% believe that they are given too much homework, while only 2% believe they don’t get enough. Out of that 149 East Middle students, 46.3% think that homework isn’t helpful. We talked to those students to see why they thought that. 6th grader, Emma Kersey believes that homework isn’t helpful. She believes that, “homework is using up time for chores and other things that kids have to do after school,” which is the main reason why she doesn’t think homework is helpful to her learning. She claims that homework, “causes stress and takes up time.” Jonas Bulger thinks that homework isn’t fair. “we go to school for 7 hours and then we go home and have to do homework,” he complained, saying that the solution would be to, “ “give less or just not have it in general.” 8th grader Lily Glidden is in the same boat. “I feel like when you get homework, it makes it more stressful to be at home… When you get home it’s supposed to be nice and relaxing, but instead you still have to worry about doing your schoolwork,” she said. Glidden thinks the answer is not having homework at all. “ think that if you didn’t finish something then I think you should finish it in advisory but I think that having homework just adds stress, we shouldn’t have it.”
However, not all students think that homework needs to go. Jackson Nichols, a 7th grader at East Middle falls into this category. Nichols thinks that homework is too time consuming. “I get homework too often and don’t have time to do it,” he said. But Nichols thinks the the positives of having homework outweigh the negatives. Some of the positives for him are “learning how to spend your time and getting more work done,” Nichols says. 8th grader Kaitlyn Groves agrees with Nichols, although she acknowledges that, “people do get really overwhelmed with how much is put on me at a time,” Groves thinks homework has many benefits. “It teaches you how to work independently…[it helps me] to understand the class more,” Groves said in an interview.
Even though not all students agree that homework isn’t helpful, the evidence is clear. Homework deprives students of sleep and free time, causes frustration and stress, not to mention that students work hard in school and shouldn’t have to spend their free time working on homework. East Middle School students shouldn’t have to do homework, and if they have to, it should be in small, reasonable portions, not hours.