In grade school, homework was the bane of our existence. It wasn’t uncommon to glance around to see a classmate working on assignments for other classes during lectures, or to see students hard at work in the library or at the lunch table. Despite “homework” implying that the work should be done at home, it just wasn’t realistic to expect several hours worth of work to be done without forgoing some hours of sleep. Because of this, educators have been taking a stand, and some schools have “no homework” policies. While each one differs from each other in some way, they all have a common goal: to raise the retention rate of students, and to ensure that education rather than busy work stay centered in classroom activities.
One school in Michigan has achieved a success story in their “no homework” policy in a simple way. In 2010, Clintondale High School had a failure rate of 35 percent, and was named one of the worst schools in the state. However, they managed to turn their story around by taking on a format called a flipped classroom. For those who have recently been in an undergraduate classroom, this model is similar to a hybrid model; students watch online lessons at home, and learn how to apply those lessons in the classroom.
Stemming from a discussion of what students needed from their education, Clintondale High School focused on how they could work with students who felt they didn’t have the tools they needed to succeed. In an interview with NationSwell, Clintondale principal Greg Green said, “It’s not about the technology we use. It’s simply about the amount of support and how much activity you do with the kids in class.”
Since taking on a “flipped classroom” model, Clintondale has seen the freshman failure rate drop by 33 percent in English, 31 percent in math, 22 percent in science, and 19 percent in social studies.
In addition, the two-year college admission rates from Clintondale rose from 63 percent to 80 percent.
We’ve seen other schools take on similar “no homework” stances. A teacher’s no homework policy in Texas went viral earlier this fall, as well as a Massachusetts school district who announced their plans to do away with homework in the coming school year. And with the success stories that have come with these stories, we can’t help but feel hopeful for the future of education and the young minds who will be enriched by these educators.