Is homework a waste of time?

President Hollande of France raised eyebrows around the world as he outlined his thoughts on banning homework from French schools.

Francois Hollande doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get homework help from their parents while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t.

Before we label Mr. Hollande as a crazy nut bag, Australia has also queried the relevance of homework in primary schools and has evidence to support their findings that  primary school homework offers no real benefit - and only limited results in junior high school.

There was genuine purpose seen in years 11 and 12 but not much else.

Whilst I am not collecting children's pocket money to raise this topic.  I do at times see it as menial work, and have found homework tasks such as a Passion Project to be far more beneficial to younger and middle years students as it allows them to drive their learning intentions outside the classroom.

In saying that i have also seen it used to great effect.

So...  I would like to pose the question

Is homework a waste of time?  And at what point does it become effective?

I would love to hear your thoughts.