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On Mar. 3, 2023, Governor Tim Walz signed SF26, which restored the right to vote to people convicted of felonies once they complete their prison sentence(s). Minnesota previously required that parole was completed.

Governor Josh Shapiro will continue the death penalty moratorium established by his predecessor, Tom Wolf in 2015.

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Pro and Con: Homework

Father helping his son with his homework. Parent child student little boy

To access extended pro and con arguments, sources, and discussion questions about whether homework is beneficial, go to .

From dioramas to book reports, from algebraic word problems to research projects, whether students should be given homework, as well as the type and amount of homework, has been debated for over a century. 

While we are unsure who invented homework , we do know that the word “homework” dates back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger asked his followers to practice their speeches at home. Memorization exercises as homework continued through the Middle Ages and Enlightenment by monks and other scholars.

In the 19th century, German students of the Volksschulen or “People’s Schools” were given assignments to complete outside of the school day. This concept of homework quickly spread across Europe and was brought to the United States by Horace Mann, who encountered the idea in Prussia.

In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies’ Home Journal, decried homework’s negative impact on children’s physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but the prevailing argument was that kids needed time to do household chores.

Public opinion swayed again in favor of homework in the 1950s due to concerns about keeping up with the Soviet Union’s technological advances during the Cold War. And, in 1986, the US government included homework as an educational quality boosting tool. 

A 2014 study found kindergarteners to fifth graders averaged 2.9 hours of homework per week, sixth to eighth graders 3.2 hours per teacher, and ninth to twelfth graders 3.5 hours per teacher. A 2014-2019 study found that teens spent about an hour a day on homework.

Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the very idea of homework as students were schooling remotely and many were doing all school work from home . Washington Post journalist Valerie Strauss asked, “Does homework work when kids are learning all day at home?” While students were mostly back in school buildings in fall 2021, the question remains of how effective homework is as an educational tool.

This article was published on February 25, 2022, at Britannica’s , a nonpartisan issue-information source.


Pros and Cons of Homework

pros and cons of homework procon org

“Not until you finish your homework.”

“I want you to finish your dinner and get right to work on your homework.”

“Is your homework done? Then, no, you get up those stairs and finish first.”

We’ve all heard something similar from our mom, dad, or caretaker. Homework is a big staple of the American school scene, just like lockers, the school bell, and big yellow buses. Portrayed in media from the Brady Bunch to Cocomelon, homework has been an academic given for decades. 

Despite its popularity, this after-school activity has been under scrutiny for over a century. Britannica explains , “In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies’ Home Journal , decried homework’s negative impact on children’s physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but the prevailing argument was that kids needed time to do household chores.”

Regardless of opposition, homework persevered, and millions of American students still spend long hours completing bookwork in their bedrooms after school. 

What are the modern objections to homework? What if the opposition is right? Is there merit to the concerns, or is homework a helpful tool for a well-rounded and comprehensive education? If you’d like to find out, now’s the time to keep reading!

How Much Time?

When analysts crunch the numbers, children spend far more time doing homework than many believe necessary. According to One Class, elementary school students spend an average of 42 minutes a day on homework. Some parents and educators argue that five additional hours of schoolwork per week is too much for elementary students. 

High schoolers spend even more time on after-school assignments. Pew Research published a 2019 article in which they explained , “Overall, teens (ages 15 to 17) spend an hour a day, on average, doing homework during the school year, up from 44 minutes a day about a decade ago and 30 minutes in the mid-1990s.”

Globally, the U.S. ranks 15th for the average amount of time spent on homework by high school students. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conducted a worldwide study on 15-year-old students to evaluate the homework load for high schoolers worldwide. 

Among the countries included in the study, China ranked first, with students spending an average of 13.8 hours a week on homework. The Netherlands ranked the lowest, with their students studying after school for an average of 5.8 hours a week. American students spent an average of 6.1 hours per week completing their homework.

What Students Think

Homework has become a point of significant stress for American students. 

One Stanford study found that 56% of students who participated in the survey stated that homework was a primary source of stress. Another study found that the decline in adequate teenage sleep may be partly due to homework. In yet another study, 82% of students interviewed admitted that they were “often or always stressed by schoolwork.” 

It’s not just the students who object to frequent homework. Parents have begun to voice their displeasure as well. One mother in Canada went viral on social media when she announced that she and her husband were done watching their ten-year-old daughter stress over her homework every night. They decided that homework wasn’t a useful educational tool for their child.

Another mother in Kansas expressed how frustrating it is when her daughter has homework that she as a mother is unsure how to help with. “I feel bad for emailing a teacher in the evenings. I’m slightly annoyed at homework in general because I don’t know what the teacher taught.” 

What Teachers Think

Educators debate whether or not homework is a positive educational tool. One Duke University professor recommends homework, believing there is a correlation between homework and academic success for older students. He recommends implementing the “10 Minute Rule.” Essentially, students receive 10 minutes of homework per day for each grade. (For instance, 1st graders would receive 10 minutes of homework, 5th graders 50 minutes, 12th graders 120 minutes.)

A Texas teacher informed the parents of her 2nd-grade students that she would not be assigning homework anymore. Instead, she asked that the children participate in real-life activities that encourage growth and success. These activities included outdoor play, family meals, and reading with parents. As her plan evolved, she acknowledged that some students actually enjoyed homework and missed the challenge. Other students received extra work here and there on an as-needed basis. 

Defining the Need

One question that desperately needs to be asked is, “What’s the purpose of homework?” 

The answer to this question can provide parameters, determine whether or not homework achieves the goal(s), and establish if it should continue to be a staple in the American education system.

Psychology Today wonders the same thing , without any clear-cut resolution. “I started the blog with a question ‘What’s the purpose of homework?’ I’ll end with the same question. If a teacher who is assigning the homework can’t provide a clear rationale behind this question, then maybe the homework shouldn’t be assigned.”

However, Honest Pros and Cons makes a case for homework in more detail. Their reasoning for homework includes :

McRel International notes that many factors play into whether or not homework is an effective strategy for students. They acknowledge that after-school assignments have pros and cons and state that the research is by no means definitive.

Proponents of homework present several positives: 

While the data is not conclusive, numerous studies have shown a correlation between academic success and the use of homework. 

Homework encourages parents and children to spend time together problem-solving and working toward a goal. It also gives parents a window into what their child is learning and the progress they are making. 

American students spend roughly six hours a day at school. This schedule doesn’t leave much flexibility for sports, a social life, and a healthy amount of free time on top of homework. Kids have to learn time management if they want a life outside of their education. 

Homework gives teachers a chance to see what the student can achieve independently. Students must put into practice what they learned in the schoolroom in a different environment and without their teacher present.

Environment can play an active part in memory. Biologically, our brains more easily recall memories and facts when we’re immersed in the same surroundings in which we created that memory or learned those facts. Homework removes the environmental factor, forcing students to strengthen their working memory. 

Concerned about the effects of homework on students, opponents note these objections:

As we’ve noted before, the data isn’t conclusive despite the numerous studies conducted. To many, the negatives suggested by various studies outweigh the proposed positives.

Studies have concluded that too much homework creates undue stress on developing minds and bodies. This translates into mental, emotional, and physical issues for many students. This stress also affects their sleep , both the amount of sleep and the quality of that sleep. 

Critics of homework fear that, in addition to time spent on school grounds, after-school assignments stunt students’ abilities to experience life outside academia. Students who struggle with completing work at home are even more susceptible to a lifestyle void of other interests. 

Homework often involves a computer and/or an internet connection. During the Covid-19 pandemic, 30% of students didn’t have the necessary technology at home to effectively participate in distance learning, raising questions about inequality affecting homework that relies on at-home technology. 

While homework can bring children and parents together, it can also drive a wedge between them. Students who feel overwhelmed or who need a break from focusing on academics often buck their homework requirements, leaving parents to enforce education standards that the teachers created. Parents and students alike can end up frustrated, with little progress made. 

A World of Unknowns

While the homework debate rages on, researchers continue to work toward a conclusive answer. In the meantime, teachers, parents, schools, and communities can work together to find a solution that meets the needs of their students. 

Without a doubt, homework has positive aspects that encourage students to advance through personal and academic growth. The trick is to nurture this positivity without stunting progress with adverse side effects. 

It’s a double-edged sword that’s well worth considering to ensure the best for our kids.

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Review by Jennifer S. , Common Sense Education | Updated February 2015

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Comprehensive, nonpartisan resource navigates controversial issues

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Lesson plans and suggested uses are available for teachers, from teachers.

Pros : Free educational resource provides non-biased information on controversial issues; promotes critical thinking and civic engagement.

Cons : Some of the more complex, reading-intensive content may need to be modified for less fluent readers.

Bottom Line : The balanced pro/con format makes this a go-to source for online research on controversial issues.

Teachers should familiarize themselves with the site and spend time in the Teacher’s Corner to explore the many suggestions from other educators. Lessons aligned to the CCSS include role-play debates, political letter-writing, online discussions, and exercises for distinguishing fact from opinion. It would be beneficial to provide students with an overview of how presents information and all the resources it has available. Depending on the course and the grade level, teachers may want to design an assignment on a particular issue or allow students to research an issue of their choice. For example: In a government class, students can conduct research on the death penalty for a debate; in a public speaking class, students could select an issue and write a persuasive speech. is a nonpartisan website that provides users with unbiased information about controversial issues. Its primary goal is to promote critical thinking and educate citizens so they can make informed decisions about important issues. All of the content is freely available and meticulously sourced and cited, and each issue is presented in a pro/con format. The site has comprehensive information on 52 different issues covering politics, education, elections, religion, media, and much more. For each issue, users will find a question, background information, pro and con arguments, top pro and con quotes, a video gallery, and user comments. In addition to the extensive content, there is a Teacher’s Corner that includes Common Core-aligned lesson plans and other suggestions for how to use the site to teach standards and develop critical-thinking skills. is a valuable resource for teachers to help students become informed about controversial issues. The content is accessible to learners of all abilities, and it's presented in a balanced and easy-to-understand structure. All of the written content, videos, and images encourage users to think about important social, political, and economic issues and form their own opinions. Teachers can use the site to help students prepare for debates, write research papers, and gain a greater understanding of differing perspectives. There are regular updates with new content and headlines related to the issues covered on the site. With so much misleading, biased, and inaccurate information in the news, is a welcome gold mine of objective content that promotes independence and critical thinking.

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High-interest topics are presented with a balanced point of view. Students will find the site useful to prepare for debates, write research papers, and increase their overall knowledge of current issues.    

Exploring a wide range of controversial topics without bias allows students to form their own opinions and become informed about civic issues. The videos, charts, articles, and quotes increase accessibility for all learners.

The site is well designed and easy to navigate. The Teacher’s Corner includes valuable suggestions for how to use the site in the classroom. The FAQ page covers just about any question you might have about how to use the site. 

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ProCon can serve several purposes in the classroom. For myself, it has become a go-to resource when controversial topics pop up. I prefer to avoid situations where I might express my own opinions in the classroom (even when I'm right) and lets me give my students both sides. It has really helped to shut down outrageous arguments from students when things like welfare or gun control come up. More importantly, it encourages proper and healthy debate. ProCon makes it very difficult for students to throw a debate off the rails with wild manipulation of facts (or the absence of facts) and focuses the class on the true issues. All in all, is a great tool for research and argumentation, but it is also a wonderful resource for teachable moments.

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    Is Homework Beneficial? - Website. Question from Pro/Con - lots of statistics, "Homework – Top 3 Pros and Cons." 25 Feb.

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    Kneeling during the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons | ... Memorization exercises as homework continued through the Middle Ages and

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    ... enterprise that further advantages students from wealthier families. (2018, September 27). Is Homework Beneficial? - Top 3 Pros and Cons.