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Parents and the Politics of Homework: Some Historical Perspectives


by Brian P. Gill & Steven L. Schlossman — 2003

Homework has been a topic of considerable controversy in 20th century American education, largely because it is a linchpin in the relationship between home and school. This essay examines parent opinions on homework between 1900 and 1960 in order to integrate parents' elusive voices into the history of American education, and to shed new light on modern-day controversies regarding the school-family interface. The underlying question we explore is whether, in educational policymaking, the family ought to march to the beat of the school, or the school ought to march to the beat of the family? We conclude that if parents want homework, and if homework keeps parents in touch with the program of the school, then it is the abolition of homework not its presence that most threatens parents' interests.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 5, 2003, p. 846-871
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11407, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 8:08:10 PM

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About the Author
  • Brian Gill
    RAND
    E-mail Author
    BRIAN P. GILL is a researcher in education and child welfare policy at RAND. His research focuses on the structures of school governance, choice, and accountability to both parents and government. He is lead author of A ‘‘Noble Bet’’ in Early Care and Education (RAND, 2002) and Rhetoric vs. Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know about Vouchers and Charter Schools (RAND, 2001).
  • Steven Schlossman
    Carnegie Mellon University
    STEVEN L. SCHLOSSMAN is professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University. His current research addresses various topics in 19th and 20th century American history, especially in the areas of education, juvenile justice, and military personnel policy. He is the co-author (with Brian Gill) of ‘‘The Lost Cause of Homework Reform,’’ American Journal of Education (November 2000).
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