I caught a bit of The Amanda Show last night and it had a fake commerical for ‘Homework Hut’. This was an outfit that delivered finished homework in thirty minutes or less. What struck me was that it’s just not funny anymore because it’s no longer satire. I’m sure that the writers thought it sufficiently over the top at the time, but now (less than 10 years later) it could be a real commercial.
In some sense it’s homework isn’t that important, it’s the learning that matters. Homework is a means, not an end. Since they’re not adults, it’s not reasonable to just say “they’re only cheating themselves”. In a perfect world the teacher would use homework to prepare the students for Socratic dialogs in class and grade the student on their ability to retain and use the knowledge from the homework. I don’t see that happening in the real world. I think this is going to be one of the big challenges of education in the 21st century.