October 19 2012

French President Says Homework C’est non bon

Vicki E. Alger

In some cases it makes sense that students complete exercises in class to ensure they master challenging material.  But mastery—much less excellence—has nothing to do with French President François Hollande’s proposed homework ban. Unveiled as part of his education reform program, Hollande insisted last month that assigning homework isn’t fair because affluent parents can help their children, while disadvantaged parents can’t.

As France24 put it, he “potentially won the hearts of millions of future voters…when he announced plans to abolish homework and reduce the number of pupils forced to repeat school years.”

There’s also probably plenty of tail-wagging from scores of family dogs who won’t be blamed for eating the imaginary homework of petite French slackers.

But this sort of dumbing down of education starts with a dumbed down notion of equality.

If Hollande were really concerned about disadvantaged students, he would call for a voucher scholarship program adjusted for family income that would allow students to get any tutoring help they need or go to better schools.

Of course, such a policy presumes an equal opportunity for excellence. Hollande seems to prefer equality of condition. Rather than letting a thousand flowers bloom, he wants to lop off all their blooms.

Bonne chance with that. If the French do go along with this scheme, then maybe they should also consider changing their national motto to Liberté, égalité, stupidité.

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