#87: Get Rid of Homework?

Last week’s issue was really heavy, so today, I decided to lighten things up a bit. You’ll note that
The Highlighter - Mark Isero
#87: Get Rid of Homework?
By The Highlighter - Mark Isero • Issue #87
Last week’s issue was really heavy, so today, I decided to lighten things up a bit. You’ll note that I’m featuring two of my favorite podcasts. (You won’t regret checking them out.) In terms of articles, it’s time that The Highlighter wades into the Great Homework Debate (always a favorite topic of mine). Plus please enjoy pieces on the history of the banana and on a mysterious illness in Sweden. Have a great week!

On the Need for Getting Rid of Homework
The homework debate is a contentious one. Though evidence suggests that it doesn’t help (only effect: widening the achievement gap), I’m still a proponent. Pernille Ripp teaches seventh grade English, and for the last several years, she has not assigned homework. Rather, she asks her students to read every night for 20 minutes. Do you find Ms. Ripp’s argument convincing? (Press R to share your response!)
Humans Made the Banana Perfect. But Soon, It’ll Be Gone.
Fruit lives on at The Highlighter. Last week it was muskmelons. This week, it’s bananas. When I taught U.S. History, my students loved learning about the (sordid, nasty, imperialist) history of the “American” banana. This article, an ode to biodiversity and an attack on consumer preferences, predicts its doom.
The Trauma of Facing Deportation
Over the past 15 years, hundreds of refugee children in Sweden — many of them Roma or Uyghur — have fallen into coma-like states, often for long periods of time, when finding out their families faced deportation. Called uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome (or, more loosely, apathy), this illness is specific to Sweden. Writer Rachel Aviv (also featured in #76) is excellent again in this haunting piece.
I think I like lakes. Greenwood Lake, New York.
I think I like lakes. Greenwood Lake, New York.
If you loved the first season of Serial but thought the second lost its way, and if you like This American Life, please check out S-Town, a 7-part podcast by Brian Reed. There’s a bit of everything in this: murder, gossip, intrigue, retribution, loneliness, mental illness, climate change, hidden treasure, Southern accents, and small-town America. (If you want more background, here’s a smart review, and another one.)
The Daily
Many of you may already subscribe to The Daily, starring Michael Barbaro at the New York Times. If you don’t, I highly recommend it. It’s how I start my day. Published weekdays, each episode lasts 20 minutes, during which Mr. Barbaro takes a key news story and adds background or color, either by interviewing a Times reporter or a regular American. (Mr. Barbaro makes sure you know how to pronounce his last name correctly.)
And that’s a wrap on #87! Hope you enjoyed it. As always, feel free to let me know what you liked and didn’t like. For example, since The Highlighter is mostly a place for articles, should podcast recommendations be prohibited? Are there publications that I should be considering? Please let me know! Have a wonderful week, and see you next Thursday at 9:10 am.
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