By Donna Krache, CNN
(CNN) – Much has changed in classrooms over the decades, but homework is a constant in every generation’s education experience. As a result, the debate over what constitutes meaningful take-home work and how much of it to give continues.
The superintendent of the Swampscott School District in Massachusetts has recently nixed homework one night a month. Dr. Lynne Celli and her leadership team issued the order for monthly homework free nights after watching the documentary "Race to Nowhere." The film profiles the culture of achievement and stress on students that some believe is destroying students' love of learning and burning out both students and teachers. Reactions to the no homework night policy at Swampscott High School are mixed, with some students appreciative, while others say one night off doesn’t make much of a difference.
There are some who dispute the merits of homework. Author Alfie Kohn writes in "The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing" that the usual defenses of homework – it promotes achievement, reinforces learning and promotes responsibility, among other things – are not supported by research.
Historian and educator Diane Ravitch argues that too much homework may just be "prep and drill" but that some homework is "good for kids." Ravitch says that homework allows time to complete important educational experiences like reading a book, writing an essay or finishing a paper – things that cannot be done in a short class period.
And there are some, like teacher Karen Hollowell, who advocate homework as a way to teach character and provide opportunities for family interaction when parents or older siblings help a younger student with an assignment.
Educator Denise Pope says that homework should be "relevant and purposeful". While few supporters of homework argue that point, there’s a lot of debate over how much time students should spend on it each night.
Some school districts aim to follow the guidelines of the National PTA – 10 minutes per grade level, maxing out at two hours per night for a senior high school student. Some districts do not have specific guidelines for time spent on homework but assign homework in part because some college admissions officers view regular homework as a necessary component of students' preparation for post-secondary studies.
So what's your opinion? Is homework necessary, and if it is, how much should students be doing? If you believe it's pointless, why do you feel this way? We'd love to hear from you on this topic.