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France considers ban on homework. Should the U.S.?

Paul Sakuma / AP

Should Americans follow in the footsteps of France, where the president is considering a ban of homework?

Many kids (and parents) in the U.S. would love to see homework become a relic of the past, much like walking to school in the snow uphill – both ways.  While a homework-free society remains a mere dream here, students in France may soon bid adieu to homework if French President, Francois Hollande, has his way.

France 24 reports that while discussing education reforms, Hollande said, “Work should be done at school, rather than at home.” His goal is to help equalize the playing field for students who don’t have family support at home to help with homework.

In order to compensate for the lack of homework, he proposed requiring kids to spend more time at school during the week. While students in France only attend school four days a week, they typically don’t get out of school until 5 or 6 p.m. Hollande’s proposing adding another half-day of school to that schedule.

Although Hollande is looking to level the playing field for kids who don’t have family willing and able to help out with homework, that may not be necessary, as many think the value of homework is over-rated. Over the years, numerous studies have come out, questioning the effectiveness of homework.

In this year’s back-to-school series, TODAY.com looked at several of those studies. One of the more recent ones showed that kids who did more homework actually performed worse on standardized tests. Additionally, Stanford University professor Denise Pope told TODAY.com that high-achieving students with lots of homework could actually suffer mentally and physically as a result. Parents sometimes worry that burdensome homework loads make it harder for kids to participate in extra-curricular activities and after-school jobs, which help them become more well-rounded.

While some schools have scaled back on the amount of homework, most are still regularly passing out assignments, to the dismay of students (and some parents and educators).

Would you support an all-out ban on homework or do you think it’s a valuable tool for kids?

Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who would have loved a ban on homework when she was in high school.

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