School stops giving homework, tells kids to play, adults FREAK out
It sounds like someone ripped the words right out of your wildest elementary school daydreams, but it’s happening: a school in New York has stopped giving homework so kids can play after school. P.S. 116 sent a note to parents explaining the situation, saying that they feared the excess of homework not only exhausted and frustrated kids, but kept them away from pursuing their interests, staying active, and spending time with their parents — and in a delicious stroke of irony, it is some of those very same parents who were none too pleased to hear of the school’s new policy.
The school, which teaches children in Pre-K through fifth grade, did not make this decision lightly. According to Principal Jane Hsu, the administration spent over a year analyzing the advantages versus disadvantages of homework before ultimately deciding that it was damaging to the children’s health and interest in engaging with the material.
“In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success,” said Hsu (which is all the retroactive permission to not do my homework I ever needed).
The parents reacting poorly to the shift bring up that homework isn’t just about the material, but about establishing discipline. Some are threatening to pull their children out of school, while others are taking a more traditional route of picking up the gauntlet and giving those gosh darn kids homework themselves.
It’ll be interesting to see how the change pans out in the long term for these students, who are arguably the happiest little kids in New York about now. As for me, I’ll be in my time machine willing myself back to the third grade to be a part of this magic, if any of you are looking to hitch a ride.
(Image from here.)