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“The dog ate my homework.” It’s the classic excuse that some parents are now encouraging their kids to use. A homework revolution is in the making. Parents are mad as hell and say their kids are not going to take so many assignments after a long day in the schoolhouse. The debate over homework is something like the debate over toilet training: lots of opinions, lots of instinct, no crystal clear conclusions.

It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time homework in the United States was considered bad for your health. A letter writer to the New York Times in 1935 claimed it was “directly responsible for more undernourished, nervous, bespectacled, round shouldered children than you can possibly imagine.” All that changed when the Russians beat the Americans into space.

Since then students’ backpacks have grown to backbreaking proportions. Did you do your homework last night?
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)