France to Ban Homework. Really.

Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2012

François Hollande has a bold new plan to tackle social injustice and inequality in France: ban homework.

Introducing his proposals for education reform last week at the Sorbonne, the French president declared that work “must be done in the [school] facility rather than in the home if we want to support the children and re-establish equality.”

Banning out-of-school assignments would put France on the cutting edge of pedagogical fashion, though it wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented. An elementary school in Maryland recently replaced homework with a standing order for 30 minutes a day of after-school reading. A German high school is also test-running a new homework ban, after an earlier reform lengthened the school day and crowded out time for extra-curriculars such as sports or music.

These small-scale experiments aim to give students more freedom to excel on their own initiative. Mr. Hollande wants just the opposite. As Education Minister Vincent Peillon told Le Monde, the state needs to “support all students in their personal work, rather than abandon them to their private resources, including financial, as is too often the case today.” The problem, in other words, isn’t with homework per se. It’s that some homes are more conducive to homework than others.

Here we begin to wonder: Are the French losing their mind? Fortunately not. More than two-thirds of the country would oppose the ban, according to an Ifop poll, so there’s hope that even in the land of égalité there’s some recognition that state power cannot equalize everything. {snip}


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  • Puggg

    The social justicey thing to do is ban homework because certain minorities can’t do it.

    The next order of business is to ban difficult courses because certain minorities can’t do it.  An idea already floated here.

    It ends with making a school diploma a civil right of just living and breathing, but only for minorities.

  • WmarkW


    No more unfair advantage to the kids with intelligent parents.
    Everyone has equal opportunities as long as all the learning takes place inside the classroom.

    Now all we need is for educated parents to stop teaching their kids to read before first grade, and we  can make serious effort at leveling the playing field.

  • WhiteGuyInJapan

    This is so goofy, not sure where to begin.

    One thing that struck me is that eliminating homework will not eliminate inequality as smarter parents willing to spend time and money on their children’s education will still pull forward.  Completely ignoring any heritability here, educated parents understand the value of education and so will probably give their kids supplemental homework independent of the schools.  Or have them take piano lessons, German lessons, etc. 

    The inequality will still be there and be more undemocratic as it will based (partially) on economic differences.

  • AmRem

    individuality in my learning? 

  • libertarian1234

    This Hollande gives every promise of causing an economic collapse in France earlier than expected, since the big bucks are leaving the country in droves due to his huge increase in taxes on the wealthy.

    I noticed too where they’re mulling over making it mandatory in government documents to refer to mothers and fathers as parent #1 and parent #2.  Obviously they feel it is vitally important to destroy the family unit and appease homosexuals.  Really smart.

    He’s doing a really great job in accelerating the deterioration taking place there.  If there was any doubt about whether France was going to implode this character swept all that away when he was elected.

    If Obama is re-elected the US will be on the very same road as France, both nations heading straight for a cliff.

    • KenelmDigby

      Whenever I see Hollande on TV, I always think to myself “this man looks physically and emotionally weak”. I don’t know, it’s just a strong instinctive impression his physignomy and bearing gives to me.
       His face is even to weak to be a successful archibishop.

  • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

    What if some student accidentally learns or becomes curious outside of the classroom and designated learning times? Of course, it’s a ridiculous idea. Obviously this politician doesn’t have enough people around him saying “No.”

  • Mahound

    The africanization of France continues  unhindered.

  • “The problem, in other words, isn’t with homework per se.”

    You can say and mean anything you want using that little phrase “per se.”  The problem isn’t Muslims per se, it’s that Muslims are too backwards to do homework you see.  Muslims don’t have a home “home” like the White French do, they have a home and that home isn’t a “home” home per se.  Home “homes” are more conducive to homework not because of the White people that live in them per se, but because of the location and worth of the home “home.”  Muslims don’t like “like” education per se the same way that Whites like “like” education, but they do like education per se.  So you see that’s why homework should be discontinued.

  • My parents never helped me with my homework, they trusted me to do it myself, and I always scored A’s. Just another foolish way to attempt to close the genetic learning gap.  Good luck with that! oui oui!

    • Puggg

      Hollande’s plan seems to be like a number of American charter schools aimed at blacks and Hispanics, wherein they keep the students during the evening to force them to do their homework, because they know the students won’t do their homework at home willingly and the parents won’t force them.

      Meanwhile, when I as a fourth grader no longer  had a steady bedtime, I also was no longer told to do my homework, because I knew to do it because I had to do it and it was expected of me.

      • This was written here in AR by a poster named “Jill” in December 2007.  It is one of the all time best ever comments here on AR.  Save it.


        Exactly! That’s what I think every time I read about some “miracle” after-school/summer school program that has managed to bring a select handful of poor blacks up to white standards through intensive remediation. Journalists and teachers rave about how they’ve finally found the key to educational equality, but never mention that the same effort applied to whites would have turned out college-level students and not just mediocre “average” students.

        I read an article a year ago about an experimental charter school KIPP academy, I think, that had increased the test scores of poor black 6th & 7th graders close to white average levels. I wish I had saved the link, but I remember the article quite well because it made me want to throw my laptop across the room. The journalist proudly recounted their class schedule:

        7am – full breakfast served to ALL students free of charge (thank you tax-payers!). Bacon, eggs, toast, orange juice, etc. No expense spared since the educators believed a heavy breakfast made the kids smarter.

        7:30 – 2:30 – regular school day with intensive focus on basic skills in reading, writing, math and science. Class sizes were small and the school had strict discipline requirements with mandated class participation, uniforms, etc. Trouble makers were kicked back to the public school system. School provided free lunch, of course.

        2:30 – 5:00 – mandated after school programs on campus. Worst students spent this time in one-on-one tutoring with teachers, better students did sports or art.

        5:00 – school-provided dinner in the cafeteria. Yup, you read that right! The educators didn’t trust the parents to feed the kids, and wanted to keep them on campus all day.

        Rest of the evening up to 8:30pm or so – SUPERVISED homework. All the kids had to sit at tables and do their homework under the watchful eyes of their teachers. The educators openly admitted that these kids would never do their homework if they weren’t forced to, and the parents wouldn’t make them do it either. The kids in this school ate all meals at the school free of charge during the week and only went home to sleep at night.

        Last, but not least, was SATURDAY school!! A half-day of intensive one-on-one tutoring with teachers and community volunteers, and free breakfast and lunch of course!

        The journalist admitted that this program was very expensive, but never mentioned that this program involved 3 to 4 times as much teaching time as a regular school. Plus, it was basically an orphanage without bedrooms. Rather than tweaking standard public schooling, it merely proved that the only dependable way to “close the achievement gap” was spending 4 times as much time and effort, and to take parental duties away from their families and raise the kids under intensive care! Any yet, this was clearly supposed to inspire whites to dump more money into this educational boondoggle.


  • Jed Sant Devi

    The next step is abolition of testing, open admissions to France’s leading universities, then open admission to citizenship, then formal erasure of borders.

    The plan unfolds before our eyes, but as long as we “stand strong with Israel,” we are doing the right thing according to Hucabee.

  • JohnEngelman

    At last, someone finds a way to bridge the race gap. Because achievement for third world students cannot be raised, lets lower achievement for white students. 

  • roadgeek

    Somewhere Harrison Bergeron is laughing.

  • ncpride

     François Hollande has a bold new plan to tackle social injustice and inequality in France: ban homework.

    So, according to this fella, the fact that my children are required to do their homework before they are allowed to persue any other activity after school, while other parents couldn’t care less, is his idea of social injustice? Absurd. Responsible parents are now considered the cause of inequality? How insane is this guy? Well shoot….. And here I’ve just spent the last half hour quizzing my son on his vocabulary words for the week and even going a step futher having him put these words in silly, funny sentences to make sure he truly understands their meaning, while totally cracking each other up. OH NO! The inequality I’ve just inflicted!

    • kerrysmith

      Face it, the kids need more time for video games, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Bumblr or whatever the h-ll they’re doing when not doing homework.

  • What was the last technological achievement of the French? Liberty Enlightening the World? The Eiffel Tower?

    This reminds me of how in the US we keep hearing about the need for high tech engineers to create new industries but at the same time we keep lowering our scholastic standards.

    The French aren’t pioneering robot technology. The Japanese, with their high value on education, are. 

    • “What was the last technological achievement of the French? Liberty Enlightening the World? The Eiffel Tower? ”

      Ha, the never ending neocon cliches about the French. Still looking for them WMDs, aren’t we ?

      You mean you never heard of the French’s contribution to pioneering  helicopters (“Hélicoptère“), supersonic transport (“Concorde), bullet trains (“TGV”), or the largest passenger jet in the world (Airbus A380) ?

      Or how about, Computer-Aided Manufacturing (“CAM”), Smart Card, Hand and Face Transplants, Remote Surgery (“Lindbergh Operation“), Nuclear research (Vitrification Plants for Nuclear Wastes, fusion reactors), Quantum Particles Measurement (Serge Aroche), Silicon-On-Insulators process technology (Soitec), Compressed Air Technology (“Air Car”) among many others ?

      I bet you also don’t even know the fact that they have the largest energy company (GDF-Suez), the world’s largest utility company (EDF), or the 1st and 2nd building and public work companies (VINCI, Bouygues), or the world’s largest environmental services and water management company (Veolia Environnement), and countless others leading companies in banking, insurance, aerospacial, etc, etc, and that most commercial satellites are put into space on French ARIANE rockets hmmm ?

      Did you want some “freedom fries” with that ?

  • The__Bobster

    The muzzies put him over the top.

  • The new in bumper sticker for French cars:

    Ne me blâmez pas. J’ai voté pour Marine Le Pen.

    Or, maybe not, considering the penchant that a certain demographic in France, incidentally, the one who is now exempted from homework, has for burning cars.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    Idiocracy & The Marching Morons will be here long before 500 years from now.

  • Michael C. Scott

    The problem was the two-dimensional sweeping out of a curve, and I knew it was a tangent substitution while watching my arrows go out over their own curve while their own center of mass rotated about the apex of the curve at archery, about this time 28 years ago.  It was the first calculus problem I didn’t just use algebra for.  The problem was a ladder being moved around a hallway corner.

  • IKantunderstand

    The entire Western World is under assault, by stupid 3rd worlders. We (I mean by that our rulers) have let them into our countries. Once again, we are being penalized for being good parents(Oh, and by that , I mean “White”) This is nothing more than a Gaulic “No Child Left Behind” bullsh– act. Be afraid French parents, be very afraid. Your country is determined to enforce (you know, those  stupid words from the French Revolution)I paraphrase:” Everything equal , no matter how stupid you are!”

  • the French president declared that work “must be done in the [school] facility rather than in the home if we want to support the children and re-establish equality.”————–

    This may not be as crazy as it sounds. It could mean students should be made to stay IN school to do their homework. Thus, it’s not so much banning homework as reformulating it into schoolwork to be finished in school. 

  • Socialists, liberals, democrats, muslims and communists, love the ignorant, uneducated masses. They are so easy to indoctrinate and sway.

  • Robert Marchenoir

    Some perspective is in order here. One important point the Wall Street Journal has omitted is that homework has been banned in France since… 1956.

    The ban was so stupid that it did not stick. That’s why countless governments have re-enacted their own copy of the ban since, all to no avail. It’s some sort of running gag.

    A French Education minister has some motions he’s supposed to go through : change schoolchildren’s holidays, lament that pupils’ bags are too heavy and that Something Has to be Done About it, and — you guessed it, ban homework.

    So, don’t assume, by any stretch of the imagination, that this umpteenth attempt will succeed, any more than the countless ones that occured  before.

  • The objection to homework is obvious: Our traditional excuse has always been “The dog ate it”. But Muslims don’t keep dogs as pets so they can’t use this excuse. Hence the ban.

  • KenelmDigby

    A lunatic proposal from a lunatic government.

    If anything, this proposal will put ‘disadvantaged’ students at an even bigger disadvantage.
       – The parents of educated and cultured children will still be able to set their children extra-curricula study at home, privately, without the school’s knowledge. The children of the ‘disadvantaged’ will be absolutely penalized, as they will get no extra-curricula study whatsoever, and no even the slightest attempt at a level playing field with the ‘privileged’ children, as far as homework is concerned.

    Why can’t those dumb socialist fools see this simple and obvious point.

  • FourFooted_Messiah

    Actually, you see more of real life roaming the streets than you do in school.