A teacher in Texas gained national attention — and sparked debate — when she invoked a no-homework policy for her second-grade students.
Brandy Young, who’s been teaching for 8 years, told INSIDER that she handed out flyers detailing her new policy at a “Meet the Teacher” night at Godley Elementary School in Godley, Texas. Here’s what it said:
“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 has 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. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”
The policy went viral when a parent posted a photo of the flyer on Facebook. So far it’s been shared more than 70,000 times.
Most parents seem to agree with Young’s decision — there’s an outpouring of supportive comments on Facebook.
But others aren’t so sure. “This seems to be the lazy extreme,” one commenter wrote. “Is that how we want to prepare kids for college and then real life?” asked another.
But what does an education expert say?
David Bloomfield, education professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York graduate center, told INSIDER that Young’s judgment is sound.
“The lasting educational value of homework at that age is not proven,” he said.
Here’s the example he offered:
“A kid says the times tables [at school] because he studied the times tables last night. But over a long period of time, a kid who is drilled on the times tables at school, rather than as homework, will also memorise their times tables.”
In other words: Why assign something as homework when it can be done just as effectively in the classroom?
That question becomes even more important when we consider that homework often takes away from other important activities.
“We are worried about young children and their social emotional learning. And that has to do with physical activity, it has to do with playing with peers, it has to do with family time. All of those are very important and can be removed by too much homework,” he said.
The situation is slightly more complicated when it comes to older students, Bloomfield explained. Certain constructive assignments — like lengthy essays — aren’t a great use of instructional, in-class time, so they’re better off as homework.
But when it comes to second-graders like Mrs. Young’s, a relaxed homework policy is right in line with the research.
Young told INSIDER that both school administrators and parents are excited about the new policy.
“Traditions can be great, but it’s always good to periodically step back and ask ‘why are we doing this?'” she said. “And if there is no good answer or benefit to what you’re doing, then someone has to voice that.”
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