Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Texas Teacher Ditches Homework for Second-Grade Class: Exception or Trend?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Texas Teacher Ditches Homework for Second-Grade Class: Exception or Trend?

Article excerpt

A second-grade teacher from Texas has taken parenting corners of the social media world by storm with a letter announcing her new homework policy. The policy? No homework at all.

In the letter, which has been shared by thousands on Facebook and Reddit, Brandy Young explains the reasoning behind her decision:

After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year. Research had been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eating dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.The letter has its critics, of course: one unimpressed Facebook commenter argues that homework is "very crucial" in helping children "not only to learn schooling but also beginnings of responsibility," adding that "kids nowadays are definitely babied more." But the majority of commenters express support for the policy, reflecting a pushback in recent years against what many parents say is too much homework. An ongoing poll on asking whether schools should abolish homework currently shows 71 percent of respondents in favor of the idea.

A number of studies have found that students, especially those in elementary school, are on average assigned more homework than education experts recommend. One study published last year found that first and second-grade children were being assigned three times the homework load recommended by the National Education Association (NEA). Kindergarteners, who according to NEA recommendations should not have any homework at all, were assigned on average 25 minutes of work a night.

Many anti-homework advocates have pointed out that there is little to no evidence that homework significantly improves academic performance in elementary students. For high schoolers, researchers have found links between moderate amounts of homework and achievement.

"[A]ll the research and evidence point to the fact that no elementary school in America should be making students work a second shift with homework because there are no proven benefits," Alfie Kohn, author of the book "The Homework Myth," told The Christian Science Monitor last year. …

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