Brandy Young just became the coolest teacher at Godley Elementary.
Young, who teaches second grade at the Godley, Texas school, sent home a letter on Tuesday, August 16 notifying parents that she would not be assigning any homework for the entire school year.
Samantha Gallagher, whose daughter Brooke is in Young’s class, posted the letter to Facebook.
“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance,” Young wrote. “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.”
Young is right: While some research has shown that homework can improve test scores and knowledge retention, there has never been any conclusive evidence — no smoking gun — that says homework gives kids a unique leg up in achievement.
Young says she’s seen firsthand how unnecessary homework has become.
“I’m just trying to be innovative — I really want to be a leader of my classroom,” she told POPSUGAR. “As a mum and as a teacher, [I found that] a lot of homework just wasn’t necessary, and it wasn’t the right thing for my students.”
Kids are in school all day. In Young’s view, it’s up to the teachers to make wise use of that time. Evenings are better suited for relaxation, discussion, and the kinds of lessons only parents can impart.
Even for schools that aren’t as committed to giving kids their evenings free, homework isn’t a straightforward issue.
Whether a student can complete homework is now becoming a matter of socioeconomics. According to a recent Pew survey, approximately five million students still lack access to high-speed Internet. Experts have taken to calling it the “homework gap.”
“This is a problem,” Jessica Rosenworcel, member of the US Federal Communications Commission, wrote in a recent blog post for the Aspen Institute. “Without a way to get online access they will be unable to do basic homework or develop the skills necessary for the digital economy.”
Instead of trying to close the homework gap, teachers like Brandy Young may find more success in avoiding it altogether.