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Posted On 10-25-2006 3:57 PM
Your Name: Paul Miles
Email Address:
Organization: Independant Parent
Location: USA
How did you find our site?: various
Comment: With AP classes up over 16000% in some parts of the country, homework is more and more a given not a question mark.  I intend to read The Homework Myth but it seems impossible to imagine a high school that could stand down this AP hysteria.

Posted On 10-24-2006 12:43 PM
Your Name: Dick Mackey
Email Address:
Organization: Retired Educator
Location: Westminster, MA 01473
How did you find our site?: In your latest book
Comment: I am a retired educator with over forty years of service having served  public schools in New Hampshire, Wyoming, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Homework Myth is absolutely the most down to earth, realistic, well written book on public school education I have ever read. It should be read by every parent, teacher, administrator and all others with any vested interest in education. If the policy makers at the top starting with the President working on down, who may be at the top but are at the root of the problems in education, would read this book and gain a clue about public educaion and become a more realistic rather than idealistic group our educaional system would be much better off.  The real problems in education are created by those who in most cases never attended public schools and don't truly understand the problems of what they speak. Alfie has done a real service for the public schools in this country and hopefully policy makers will start to make policies that have a chance of succeeding. Great job, Alfie, Dick Mackey

Posted On 10-24-2006 11:31 AM
Your Name: Steve Middlebrook
Email Address:
Organization: The Atrium School
Location: 69 Grove St., Watertown, MA
Comment: I have not read the book yet, but I am the choir to whom it will be preaching.  I have always felt as a teacher and as a school administrator, that the incremental homework systems we use in elementary school (20 minutes in 2nd grade, 30 minutes in 3rd) make absolutely no sense whatsoever.  We also seem to justify giving homework because it will be given in higher grades.  Also senseless.  My dream would be a school whose calendar and whose school day are put together with enough intelligence that all work would be done at school, and home can be for home.  Haven't achieved that yet, but who knows?

Posted On 10-23-2006 7:00 PM
Your Name: David Baldwin
Email Address:
Location: RI
How did you find our site?: Radio Interview - KWMR
Comment: Alfie,


I never liked homework as a student, and the main reason I have stayed far away from academics after college is--no homework. On the other hand, while it may be a wonderful thing to be "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores", the fact is that the human consciousness is a feedback-loop-forward mechanism, and if we just stay focused on what is wrong with the system we will only (unwittingly) perpetuate it. Our own pushing against will entrench the resistance and lock us all into an endless battle.

What I would love to see is vision. Slogans, prescriptions, programs that work, new models, supporting evidence, spotlight on what is working, motivation for trying new things. Especially slogans. What does the future look like? What comes after homework and ignorance about how children learn? What do we see that is really working? What should education be about, and why? What can we call it that people will pick up on?

As far as I am concerned, the battle is over. You have killed homework--and it didn't take much to do it. It's a dead horse. Now paint us a picture--lots of pictures--of where we want to be instead.

Posted On 10-20-2006 8:30 PM
Your Name: joan stancombe
Email Address:
Organization: VESTA
Location: Vancouver, B.C.,Canada
How did you find our site?: at conference
Comment: My teaching over the past 38 years has taken me to many conferences. This morning's was outstanding and rates up there with the likes of Mel Levine.   The presentation today was not only timely but also affirming for me.  I have alway felt assessment has been edicted by the wrong authorities.  I am old enough now , that I can stand firm in my beliefs without fear of reprisal because I'm good at what I do.  Assessment becomes intuitive if the studies are student centered and co planned within the classroom community.  Your talk today, Dr, Kohn, supports me 100%. Thank you. Joan Stancombe

Posted On 10-20-2006 6:00 PM
Your Name: Bob O'Reilly
Email Address:
Organization: Vancouver School Board
Location: Vancouver, B C
How did you find our site?: word of mouth
Comment: Hi Alfie, and all concerned... I just attended your mini work-shop last night....I would like to  say thank you, and  'What a treat to have my thought's validated' and to see individuals truly interested in making some sort of change.... as we know, any change is a good change. I ran into many professional friends, that are making moves, with the help of your research, to the better develpment of children... Keep up the fun...    ~Bob~

Posted On 10-18-2006 2:32 PM
Your Name: E. Schultz
Email Address:
Organization: ASU West
Location: Surprise, AZ
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: I was referred to your literature by a teacher at the school I am student teaching at. I left a career of five years to return to school and become a teacher. I am completing my Action Research Paper (Data Driven Instruction research) on homework. My question was: " Will a daily review of weekly homework packets and clearly communicated expectations increase student achievement on these assignments?" The question was derived from my mentor teacher who assigns these homework packets (five double sided pages) to the students weekly. Now after completing an eight week observation analysis, intervention, and data collection for this research project... I am finding my results to be rather conclusive. The students were given a packet before and with no help or direction were getting very low scores on the packets. Once I instituted the review process and explaination of expectations, their scores went up. I found this to be the only positive results of this research. Many of the students struggled with the concepts in the packets. I found that the packets held a lot of material that the students were still practicing in class (learning but not yet mastered), that I think still contributed to the low scores. I found many more things, but I will not "blog" them all here. I wanted to tell you that I am heading to the library to check out your books!!! As many as I might find there and then I may have to go shopping at Barnes and Noble to get your books. I am really excited to read on, so far your site has impressed me and the referrals from other teachers have been wonderful. Thank you, E. Schultz

Posted On 10-11-2006 9:52 PM
Your Name: Ingrid Kennedy
Email Address:
Organization: Central Queensland University
Location: Rockhampton, Australia
How did you find our site?: From a link in a newsletter I receive called The Communicator
Comment: Do I love Alfie or what!!!! 


I presented a paper at a plagiarism conference last year on how homework contributes to this. As a primary and high scholl teacher, i vowed never to give homework, and had many strategies on how to NOT give it; how to convince parents and so on. Love the thought! It can't happen quickly enough as far as I am concerned. You need to come to Australia and tell them here, Alfie. I am going to take my cause to a few more conferences too. "Good on ya, mate!"

Posted On 10-11-2006 9:09 PM
Your Name: cheryl hilmes
Email Address:
Organization: chinook open school
Location: anchorage, alaska
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: I'm trying to find information regarding merit pay for teachers. Our state recently adopted this lame way of "rewarding" teachers based on student improvement on standardized tests. Yuck! I want to compose a letter to the editor or point-of-view piece for our local paper. Any scientist knows that there can be only one variable when comparing information over time. And yet, out Assistant Superintendant was on the news last week saying "We'll watch this over a three year period. If students' scores rise, perhaps we'll have to take this merit pay seriously." If students' scores rise who's to say it's not the child finding him/herself or the parent waking up and paying attention or finally three square meals are in that child's tummy. How can they say that it's related to the teacher teaching better. This is an outrage.

Posted On 10-10-2006 1:28 PM
Your Name: Kymm Hadlock
Email Address:
Organization: mom
Location: Okemos, Michigan
How did you find our site?: book
Comment: Alfie,  I attended your talk last Friday morning at the Lansing Center.  I attended as a guest (not a teacher) and as an avid fan (having read most of your books).  I deeply appreciated your passion for helping teachers to focus on student learning versus test results.  Thanks for the work that you are doing.


I have an 11 year old who entered into the public schools for the first time this fall and he just had his first day of MEAP testing.  I approached the school principal yesterday asking if it was required for him to take this test.  The principal did not know so I called the Michigan Department of Education to find out.  I learned that 95% of students must take the test by law for the school to receive funding.   While discouraged by this news, the brighter side is that I can sign a waiver to opt out of the additional two standardized tests that my son would also have to take this year. 

I am hoping to increase my knowledge about why the MEAP is a poor test and should not be required.  I tried surfing the web, but did not get great results.  Any suggestions?   Thanks again for your work.  Kymm Hadlock

Posted On 10-07-2006 10:09 AM
Your Name: Dan Kegel
Email Address:
Organization: Google
Location: Los Angeles, CA
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: I'm reading your 1993 book "Punished by Rewards", particularly the short section on the corporate practice of employee performance evaluations and their use in deciding on whom to promote.  You might be interested to know that at the company I work for, performance evaluations are used to see if the employee has already started doing the next higher up job in the ladder.  If they are, then we simply recognize this by promoting him or her to match title better to their actual job.  Next time you do a book on the subject hopefully this example will be useful.

Posted On 10-04-2006 5:54 AM
Your Name: Michael Rothman
Email Address:
Organization: student
Location: boston, ma
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: Can anyone else help with the question below that I sent to Alfie Kohn. Thanks.


I am part of a debate on "Can Character Education Reverse Moral Decline," and I need to provide 8 research articles that back up the "Con" position, i.e. that it cannot. I have found many good articles by you that state your position, but can't find any research that supports the "Con" position. In some of your articles you state that there is much research to back up this position. Can you email me how I can get hold of any of this research so that I can back up your position on this matter with data. Thanks. I've enjoyed reading your articles and books, and very much agree with you, and the position you take. My email address is

Posted On 09-28-2006 11:47 AM
Your Name: Jim Hurley
Email Address:
Organization: Open Strings Music Studio
Location: Livermore, CA
How did you find our site?: tip from a friend
Comment: I'm delighted to find such a lucid and potent exposition of these most important issues in education and socialization. For many years, I have run a small private music teaching studio, eschewing competition, testing/rating of students, and use of (or appeal to) authority as teching methods. Co-operation, content and choice have been guiding principles in my teaching procedures, though I have not, until now, distilled my intuitive choices into such an organized philosophical foundation. Music education has long been saddled with an enormous and damage-causing baggage of authoritarianism, competition and numerical measurement of skills which have no numerical basis, and an utter discouragement of individual direction and initiative in what is, after all, a creative art field. No wonder so many kids quit! I'm happy to report that after more than a decade of following a different model, the results have been most gratifying. Despite the active opposition of the local music education 'establishment', I've managed to create and sustain a vibrant program in which there are no winners or losers, no stars or 'second fiddles', but an abundance of comraderie, exuberance and passionate exploration of the wide world of music. I would be most interested to hear of the experiments, and experiences, of others in this regard. My only complaint is sheer physical exhaustion. And I'm happy to have been referred to the work of Mr. Kohn by a kind parent of one of my students.

Posted On 09-28-2006 5:27 AM
Your Name: Chris
Email Address:
Location: Wisconsin
How did you find our site?: googled "Alfie Kohn"
Comment: I guess I have to agree with you in some ways.  Homework can be really difficult in someways for some students and I also think can give emotional problems with self esteem.  Then again I disagree because we need homework to keep the students busy and a way to gain knowledge and learn from mistakes as you're going through your homework.

Posted On 09-28-2006 3:33 AM
Your Name: Colin G. landry
Email Address:
Organization: Second Language Teacher (CASLT)
Location: Sydney, Nova Scotia
How did you find our site?: Conversation / Research
Comment: Interested on your views concerning second language acquistion and rewards ? Students are often rewarded to the point that they have a "what's in it for me " approach to learning. Your comments are refreshing because I find that students have become underachivers because they are constantly rewarded .

Posted On 09-27-2006 11:32 AM
Your Name: David N. Andrews MEd (Dec 2006)
Email Address:
Organization: AutSpect Education
Location: Kotka, Finland
How did you find our site?: referral from an interesting blog
Comment: Alfie, I read with great interest your article on standardised testing, and have to say that it is nice to see that others thing as I do.  I am an applied educational psychologist building up a private practice in the south-east of Finland, and part of my work involves standardised testing.  I can see a place for standardised testing, when one is looking for scores about how well a certain student can perform a particular task, provided one is careful to note just how that score was got.  Comparison with a norm group can be useful in that it can highlight areas of particular need where teachers can be recommended to direct their attention with regard to any given student, in order to help that student maximise the benefit they gain from an educational process.  There is a limit, however, to the usefulness of standardised testing, and I think your articles show very well what can happen when a good and useful idea becomes a manic perseveration on the part of the authorities.  In terms of enabling teachers to see who is not getting to learn much about some issue, there is a value to standardised attainment tests; but I myself would be reluctant to put too much store by these tests as final arbiters on someone's ability or success in any educational process.  My view is that they show less about what has been learned than is claimed of them, and that they have a limited range of convenience in other aspects of assessment.  If one is teaching a student a task, isn't the overarching goal to teach the student to perform the task competently?  I would have thought so.  How does a teaching to standardised test allow us to assess individual competencies?

It doesn't.  It compromises the educational process.

Nice to see your work after having been exhorted to check it out.  I was told that I would not be disappointed: the person who told me obviously knows me well :)

Thank you.


Posted On 09-21-2006 8:38 AM
Your Name: Matt Danielson
Email Address:
Organization: Montevideo Middle School
Location: Montevideo, Minnesota
How did you find our site?: I saw Alfie speak.
Comment: I am reading The Schools Our Children Deserve for a grad course. I am working hard to be a "progressive" teacher. My problem is that I often feel useless when my students are working cooperatively. I don't want to just facilitate -- I want to teach.

Posted On 09-15-2006 9:13 PM
Your Name: Jennifer Grotke
Email Address:
Location: New York
How did you find our site?: googled-After reading an article in the local newspaper
Comment: Many young mothers are becoming increasingly concerned with the amount of homework being given to their young children and the stress it creates for them.  Reading your article confirmed my belief that this trend in education is detrimental to my childs welfare.  My son is in kindergarten and has homework every night.  By the time he gets home from his after school program and has dinner there is very little time left before bedtime.  As an example of how out of control this issue has become, I want to relay what took place recently with my son.  On this particular day he had a soccer game so it was a very rushed evening.  We managed to complete the majority of his homework.  However, we were too tired to complete his fifteen minute reading session. The consequence of this "failure" was my son's playtime was taken away. While the other children played, my son was forced to just sit and watch.  He was made to feel he was bad and served as an example for the other children should they not fulfill their reading assignments everyday.  Somehow this doesn't seem like the best way to encourage children to want to read and learn!!  It's good to know there is someone out there trying to put some sense into the education process.  Thank you for all your efforts and please continue to do so. 

Posted On 09-15-2006 4:09 PM
Your Name: Vincent Berube
Email Address: vincent . berube @ camis . com
Location: Guelph
How did you find our site?: Google
Alfie's interview in Maclean's magazine was an incredibly refreshing breeze of truth in such a massive pile of demotivating educational dung. The predominant educational model is asinine at best when compared against the latest cognitive and behavioral research. Individual aptitudes and creativity has been replaced and stiffled by this insane idea of educational conformity and uniformity. Parents, teachers and politicians need to start waking up (and catching up) with the latest research because what was once a beautiful and mysterious pursuit of knowledge and wisdom has degenerated into the most boring mechanistic assembly line ever created. It's a crying shame because even the most intelligent students are dulled by this approach. Truth is though, the populous' resistance to change is often greater then its ability to apprehend and put into practice an obvious truth. Alfie you're incredibly brilliant and I wish you a long and successful career. May you move mountains with your brilliance. Namaste.

Posted On 09-14-2006 10:27 AM
Your Name: R. Scott Lloyd
Email Address:
How did you find our site?: edweek .org
Comment: Hi - I just read your position piece on homework.  The funny thing is that it read less as an indictment of homework and more of a call for designing engaging, relevant, student-centered lesson planning!  The path you cut was more one that exposed bad teaching practice in general - if the teacher has no clue about how to engage students in effective learning in class (worksheets - yuk!), how could homework from such a teacher make learning any better? 
Conversely, well-planned, thoughtful, engaging, student-centered homework can be a delight, not a cause for depression!  Students who understand that the classroom is a place to learn from each other as well as the teacher is helped by effective teaching that includes engaging homework because the students ALSO learn how to learn from each other.   Take another look.



R. Scott Lloyd


Posted On 09-12-2006 5:24 PM
Your Name: Stephanie Sylvester
Email Address:
Location: Oklahoma City
How did you find our site?: Pat Barrett
Comment: I am back in teaching after an 18 year break.  This will be my 12th year total in the profession.  I was delighted to see the title of your book, The Homework Myth.  I have been philosophically opposed to traditional homework ever since I began teaching.  Too many reasons to list.  Just wanted to say I don't even have to read your book, but I will put a link to your website on my webpage, so that parents who question my philosophy can view your research, and perhaps get a new perspective. 

 I had a chance to try out my anti-homework philosophy with a group of teachers at an in-service this year.  I acknowledged their reasons for assigning homework, then stated why I still demur.  I don't think I'm in trouble for it yet.  We'll see.

I have a master's degree in secondary education.  The main thing I learned from that process was that you need to be able to defend your policies, procedures, and techniques.  Thank you for your contribution to my ability to be effective by being "research-based."  Any predictions for the buzz words of the next generation?"  In the 80's, we had accountability.  In the 90's I heard about outcomes-based foci.  Now it's all about research-based decisions.  My vote goes to "let's look at the BIG picture." 

An instant fan,

Stephanie Sylvester

Posted On 09-12-2006 1:10 PM
Your Name: Chuck Fellows
Email Address:
Organization: Family
Location: Michigan
How did you find our site?: Reading
Comment: Just imagine a world with Dr. Kohn's insight, Meg Wheatley's introspection and Ed Deming's practicality and pure honesty.

 Thank you Dr. Kohn for another parcel of hope for sanity in education! (and in business too ). You are a "Sensi" of the highest order.

Posted On 09-12-2006 8:42 AM
Your Name: Sarah Wright
Email Address:
How did you find our site?: googled "Alfie Kohn" after having read Unconditional Parenting
Comment: My husband just got his master's degree in education and heard Alfie Kohn speak at the school where he is an assistant teacher.  Our son just started kindergarten. I read Unconditional Parenting looking for help in dealing with our son, who has mild developmental delays and some sensory issues. What this translates to is that he is more impulsive than average for a five-year-old, among other things that make life difficult, and ultimately my husband and I have no clear method of dealing with the problems we have with daily life with our son. So we have a dual interest in Alfie Kohn's writings and work: both because of our son and because of what my husband sees as serious shortcomings in the curriculum he will be expected to teach in the public school system. I might as well add a third reason: our son just entered this same school system. I was surprised (but I shouldn't have been) to see that he's been handed a homework folder, and he's in kindergarten.

Posted On 09-09-2006 7:01 AM
Your Name: Karen in Illinois
Email Address:
Organization: Public Schools
How did you find our site?: CBS News
Comment: No Child Left Behind has put a special pressure on school districts. In our schools, teachers must give homework. The only plus that I have seen in giving first grade homework, is that some parents come to realize if their child is struggling due to focus and attention difficulties.

Posted On 09-07-2006 2:16 PM
Your Name: Franklin in Maryland
How did you find our site?: NPR
Comment: I am highly educated with a substantial academic background (2 undergraduate degrees and 4 graduate degrees from major institutions) and an immigrant to the US. I just listened to the NPR interview of Alfie Kohn where he was discussing his book about homework, and I have to admit he has a point.

Whatever American schools are doing, they seem to be doing it badly. I have been repeatedly shocked at the knowledge and skill level of many American students and products of the American educational system. I have encountered Americans, even at the most expensive private colleges, who are at the top of their classes, but do not know high school algebra or that they need to have verbs in their sentences. I have seen top American students who cannot even find the United States on a map of the world, or know the most rudimentary historical facts. So whatever is being taught in American schools and whatever methods they are using, does not seem to be working very well.

I am not an expert on the types of homework that are given out in American schools. I myself often ruined family vacations by my obsession with completing academic projects and competing in school. However, I think that pure rote learning and tasks that crush creativity are completely unconstructive, although they do have their place in some measure. I was always encouraged as a child to be curious about the world and to learn about it, and the impression I get from interacting with Americans is that this is often not true for many of them.


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