As a sophomore in high school, I’ve spent a huge amount of my life doing homework. It’s been annoying, sure, but I’ve never thought of it as a major problem. Only recently has it reached this point where I can’t live my life and do all my homework at the same time.
American high school students spend an average of 32.5 hours each week at school. Then they come home every day and do homework for another two hours. The worst part? Studies have shown that homework is not necessarily linked to getting better grades.
What homework is linked to is doing better on standardized tests. And standardized test preparation isn’t helping the American education system either. Finland leads the world in education scores, yet Finnish students only take one standardized test in their entire school career. (The United States, meanwhile, flounders below the global average in math and science scores.)
The homework in the U.S. started with the launch of Sputnik in the 1950s by the then Soviet Union. Homework was thought a necessary measure for the U.S. to keep up with the rest of the world (and beat Russia in the space race.) The next step was the education reform of the 1990s, when the first laws were passed requiring homework in schools everywhere.
And that brings us to today.
Homework has never been a more contested topic. It’s the subject of countless studies, books and experts. Yet research continues to show that homework isn’t worth the time students spend on it.
It’s time to change this. It’s time for students to be able to spend their afternoons doing what they want to do, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen. It’s time that students’ lives were considered just as important as their test scores.
Fina Short, 15, is a sophomore at Eastside Preparatory School. She lives in Medina.