It works in the other way too: we also distribute school time to do out-of-school tasks. We do it all the time and no one has problems with it: we take school off to travel for example. So now suddenly the reverse is a huge issue and is considered waste of time or school is being 'inefficient' if school asks students to use some of their time to do school-related matters too?
If we can't finish a task that's given to us, we take responsibility and finish what we started. How annoying it is that new university hires do not remotely see any problem in not calling in work if sick, giving schedules/availabilities on time cause they "forgot", or taking some part of their job home to get it done by due time for... it's as if some of them never had to do it to begin with and never heard of such things already.
NOTE: if i'm not making sense, I blame 4:11am at night.
I was peaking from a strictly educational standpoint not even considering character building (guess I have a bit to learn still). That being said I feel as though (now thinking of character building) it should be more of a balanced situation than homework as a given. If a student is falling behind or not completing work I see nothing wrong with homework being given out, it is only as an education supplement I have a problem with it. I can't help but think though, if parents help as much as many people feel they do, how will it benefit the child? Still forgetting the parent issue it probably is a good character building tool, even if it is less effective than in-class formative practices for assessment purposes.
Abolishing homework will only work properly if the time spent in school is spent actually doing something valuable with their time, and even then, homework serves a lot more purpose than work outside of the classroom. It reinforces the information taught that day and it teaches students to prioritize their important work and prepares them for the real work world. Cramming all the information in at once isn't going to help students know what they need to know. They need to be able to practice it outside of the classroom, on their own, in order for them to grasp it properly and for it to sink in. If someone truly believes that schoolwork should be kept in school, then I have to say that their logic is truly flawed. School prepares students for jobs where work outside of work is expected of employees. If they're stripped of that fundamental aspect of work, they're going to have a lot more difficulty adjusting to that when it comes down to it.
That's true of high-school, I agree that homework is important in later years for the purpose of preparation for tertiary study or work. In Primary/Elementary and early Middle School this is less true. The younger you are the less ability to maintain an interest in your work and maintain focus. It is more effective to give shorter engaging lessons than prattling lessons and mountains of homework. As I said above the younger you are the less homework should be relied upon to improve the quality of your learning, it shouldn't be used as a supplement for in-class time unless the child is falling behind or not completing work in class.
Sorry for The Great Wall of Text but I find this topic very interesting. I hope I'm not appearing too argumentative or "know-it-all" like whilst expressing my views I'm unsure how this sounds to other people who read it.