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January 2017 | Volume 59 | Number 1
Does Homework Help?
Homework is an age-old tradition, but could inequitably penalize students in poverty. Some educators are weighing whether to redesign it or stop assigning it.
When Christina Torres started teaching in 2009, she handed out nightly homework assignments—just as her own teachers had done. Her policy was not unlike those used in other classrooms in her school at the time or in classrooms all over the country.
But her students at Animo Ralph Bunche Charter High School in Los Angeles, about 95 percent of whom received free or reduced lunch, often didn't do the assignments. In the first semester, she estimates that just 20 to 30 percent completed their homework. Many said they had simply forgotten about it.
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