In this, the sequel to his critically acclaimed and controversial The End of Homework, John Buell extends his case against homework. Arguing that homework robs children—and parents—of unstructured time for play and intellectual and emotional development, Closing the Book on Homework offers a convincing case for why homework is an outgrowth of broader cultural anxieties about the sanctity of work itself. After the publication of Buell's previous book, many professional educators portrayed reducing homework as a dangerous idea, while at the same time parents and teachers increasingly raised doubts as to its continued usefulness in education. According to John Buell, the importance of play is culturally underappreciated. Not only grade schoolers, but high school students and adult workers deserve time for the kind of leisure that fosters creativity and sustains a life long interest in learning. Homework is assigned for many reasons, many having little to do with learning, including an accepted, if unchallenged, belief that it fosters good work habits for children's futures. As John Buell argues convincingly, homework does more to obstruct the growth of children's minds, and consumes the time of parents and children who may otherwise develop relationships that foster true growth and learning. A unique book that is sure to fuel the growing debate on school reform, Closing the Book on Homework offers a roadmap for learning that will benefit the wellbeing of children, parents, and teachers alike.
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Homework as an Issue in American Politics1. Revisiting the Evidence2. A History Lesson about Work and Homework3. Educating Global Citizens or Global Workers?4. Education at the EpicenterConclusion: On Character and Public Education in Democratic SocietyNotesIndex
"John Buell makes a cogent case for homework reform. The strength of this new book is its placing of the 'homework wars' in historical and cultural context. By showing how current concerns about homework are part of a larger debate about the place of work in modern life, Buell is able to suggest broader remedies and policies that apply to a variety of modern problems and concern—such as overwork that constrain family andcommunity life in a multitude of ways. Buell offers a compelling argument, and his voice needs to be heard."—Benjamin Hunnicutt, Professor, the University of Iowa, and author of Work Without End
"John Buell's Closing the Book on Homework is a unique and timely contribution to the torrid debate and about whether the heavy burdens of homework and standardized tests actually improve education. What marks this book from the others is that, in addition to thorough reviews and refutations, Buell places education and homework in the contexts of the global economy, the fiscal crisis of the states, and the emergence of the rote styles of learning as the dominant educational technology. Teachers, researchers, parents, indeed everyone concerned with the fate of our kids cannot afford to miss this powerful book."—Stanley Aronowitz
"[R]eaders new to Buell's argument will find much in this book to think about and, possibly, to act upon."—Kappa Delta Pi Record
"Sure to fuel the growing debate on school reform, Closing the Book on Homework offers a roadmap for learning that will benefit the wellbeing of children, parents, and teachers alike."—Adolescence
"...a sequel to his controversial The End of Homework. Buell extends his case against homework, arguing that it robs children—and parents—of unstructured time for play, as well as intellectual and emotional development."—Curriculum Review