Students Under Stress

Do schools assign too much homework?


The average homework load for first- through third-graders has doubled over the past two decades, even though research shows homework doesn't benefit such young children. Indeed, some schools require preschoolers to tackle academic subjects like reading and writing. In response a parents' movement has arisen — mainly in middle- and upper-income suburbs — protesting excessive homework and other forms of academic pressure, including so-called high-stakes testing. Parents say the added pressure robs children of needed play and family time and can cause stress, sleep deprivation, depression and family strife. Some schools have responded by limiting homework for the youngest children and downplaying stress-causing programs, such as academic honor rolls. At the same time, however, U.S. high school students spend less time in class than students ...

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