The Book

Does assigning fifty math problems accomplish any more than assigning five? Is memorizing word lists the best way to increase vocabulary—especially when it takes away from reading time? And what is the real purpose behind those devilish dioramas?

The time our children spend doing homework has skyrocketed in recent years. Parents spend countless hours cajoling their kids to complete such assignments—often without considering whether they serve any worthwhile purpose. Even many teachers are in the dark: Only one of the hundreds the authors interviewed and surveyed had ever taken a course specifically on homework during training.

The truth, according to Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish, is that there is almost no evidence that homework helps elementary school students achieve academic success and little more that it helps older students. Yet the nightly burden is taking a serious toll on America's families. It robs children of the sleep, play, and exercise time they need for proper physical, emotional, and neurological development. And it is a hidden cause of the childhood obesity epidemic, creating a nation of "homework potatoes."

In The Case Against Homework, Bennett and Kalish draw on academic research, interviews with educators, parents, and kids, and their own experience as parents and successful homework reformers to offer detailed advice to frustrated parents. You'll learn which assignments advance learning and which are time-wasters, how to set priorities when your child comes home with an over-stuffed backpack, how to talk and write to teachers and school administrators in persuasive, non-confrontational ways, and how to rally other parents to help restore balance in your children's lives.

Empowering, practical, and rigorously researched, The Case Against Homework shows how too much work is having a negative effect on our children's achievement and development and gives us the tools and tactics we need to advocate for change.

The Reviews

What people are saying about The Case Against Homework:

"Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish have written a battlefield manual for parents....Employing the chatty, anecdote-driven style of women's magazines, they lay out their case (even claiming that the growing homework burden fuels childhood obesity), then spell out how to lobby schools to have it reduced or eliminated."
— Ben Wildavsky, The Washington Post
 
"[Bennett and Kalish] offer lessons from their own battle to rein in the workload at their kids' private middle school in Brooklyn, N.Y. Among their victories: a nightly time limit, a policy of no homework over vacations, no more than two major tests a week, fewer weekend assignments and no Monday tests. Why don't more parents in homework-heavy districts take such actions?
— Claudia Wallis, Time Magazine
 
"Parents of America, unite! You have nothing to lose but your frustration. The Case Against Homework is an important book that takes on the 500-pound gorilla—homework overload—long ignored by educational policy makers. Every parent of a school-age child should buy it and follow the authors' excellent advice in order to protect their children from an educational system gone haywire."
— Dan Kindlon, author of Raising Cain, Too Much of a
Good Thing
, and Alpha Girls
 
"Bravo to Bennett and Kalish for having the courage to say what many of us know to be true! By connecting the dots in new ways, they make a strong case against the value of homework. This book serves as an indispensable tool for parents who want to get serious about changing homework practices in their schools."
— Etta Kralovec, associate professor of teacher education, University
of Arizona South, and coauthor of The End of Homework
 
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The Authors
SARA BENNETT

SARA BENNETT is a criminal defense appeals attorney and was the first director of the Wrongful Convictions Project of New York City's Legal Aid Society. She is an expert in the post-conviction representation of battered women and the wrongly convicted, and lectures widely. Sara and her cases have been featured in the New York Times and on 60 Minutes II, Dateline NBC, and the Today show. She successfully challenged and changed homework policies at her children's schools. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Sara at stophomework.com.

NANCY KALISH

NANCY KALISH is a former senior editor at Child and Cosmopolitan, has been a columnist for both Redbook and Working Mother, and is the current "Healthy Families" columnist at Selecciones, the Spanish-language edition of Reader's Digest. She has written hundreds of articles for Parenting, Parents, Real Simple, Reader's Digest, More, Ladies Home Journal, Glamour, Self, Health, Prevention, The New York Times, and other magazines and newspapers. She is also a former adjunct professor at NYU's Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Nancy at NancyKalish.com.