No homework for a year? Sounds like a student’s dream. But this dream is actually a reality for the kids of Kelly Elementary School in Massachusetts, where their principal recently announced that homework will be banned for the entire upcoming school year, according to Western Mass News.
The policy was controversial, but the rule won out when it was presented to the Board of Education based on research that supports a homework-free education. Education expert Harris Cooper of Duke University looked at over 120 different studies, and he found no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students. In fact, he found that it can even have the opposite effect and sometimes end up discouraging kids from learning.
But there’s a catch: Instead of doing homework, kids will stay an extra two hours at the school, attending from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some teachers believe that the kids will start to tire out before the end of the school day, but Principal Jackie Glasheen told Western Mass News that she thinks that’s OK.
“We really want our kids to go home at 4 p.m. tired,” she told the publication. “We want their brain to be tired. We want them to enjoy their families, to go to soccer and football practice, and we want them to go to bed and that’s it.” The program will last for a year, so it should be interesting to see if the under-performing school sees some improvement with the new policy.
A second grade teacher in Texas made news recently for testing a similar policy. Citing a lack of research that’s been able “to prove that homework improves student performance,” the teacher sent a note home to parents at the start of the school year to tell them she would not be assigning any after-school work this year. “Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success,” the note reads. “Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”
We’ll be staying tuned to see how these two tests turn out.
Photo by Alan Wat