Then things changed for me in ways that forced me to rethink my choices. I moved from an affluent school district to a school district that served primarily low-income students. It was no longer a given that most of my students would complete their homework. Now, only about ⅓ of the students would routinely turn in homework and was tanking my students’ grades. My role within the school changed as well. I began taking on more leadership, which meant talking to other teachers about issues they were facing, including the homework conundrum. I began reading more research and questioning the routine of homework in the typical math classroom.
I saw Pedro Noguera speak at a conference, and he spoke about homework as an equity issue. His comments spoke to me, and pushed me to view homework through a new lens. Often, he said, teachers confuse hours on homework with rigor. We also make a number of assumptions when we assign homework.