Earlier this week, a principal in Menlo Park, California, announced that he was cutting down on the amount of homework his teachers were allowed to assign to their students. David Ackerman, the principal at Oak Knoll Elementary School, sent home a letter which no doubt drew cheers from both kids and parents:

“The preponderance of research clearly shows that homework for elementary students does not make a difference in student achievement. . . . Even the most ardent supporters of homework have only been able to produce evidence of associative rather than causal relationships. In addition, it is not surprising that there is no research that demonstrates that homework increases a child’s level of understanding, improves their attitude toward school or inspires a love of learning. For a large number of students we know the opposite is true — large amounts of homework stifle motivation, diminish a child’s love of learning, turn reading into a chore, negatively affect the quality of family time, diminish creativity and turn learning to drudgery.”

We’ve talked about the too-much-homework question several times on my show, and today I invited Etta Kralovec on to discuss it some more. As author of “The End Of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning,” Etta would like to see all homework eliminated.

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I disagree. While it certainly needs to be reduced, I see value in students doing some work at home to reinforce what they’ve learned in class. But when it becomes quantity over quality, when the amount of homework they’re doing makes it impossible for them to have any kind of life other than studying, writing essays, working on math problems, and filling out worksheets for 3-4 hours every afternoon/evening, that’s too much.

Principal Ackerman hasn’t done away with all homework. Kids still have to read at home, they still have some weekly assignments, and they do have to work on some skills, but he has banned assigning homework for homework’s sake. That sounds right to me, and I hope other school administrators and districts will pay attention and follow his lead.

I wrote about this in a column last September, and also spoke with Nancy Kalish about her book, “The Case Against Homework.” Listen to that conversation here.