Parents and the Politics of Homework: Some Historical Perspectives
by Brian Gill & Steven 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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