Young students in Florida are no doubt rejoicing after one school district announced last month it would no longer be assigning homework to kids in elementary school.
Instead, the Marion County school district is encouraging its students to simply read for 20 minutes a night.
Marion County School District Superintendent Heidi Maier says she based the district’s new policy on research conducted by University of Tennessee Professor Richard Allington. He says that for most elementary school kids, homework does not give a good indication as to a student’s performance.
“Kids who do homework, don’t produce any better than kids who don’t do homework,” Allington told WATE-TV in 2016.
Allington also told the Washington Post that elementary students often don’t take anything away from homework assignments.
“The quality of homework assigned is so poor that simply getting kids to read replacing homework with self-selected reading was a more powerful alternative … maybe some kinds of homework might raise achievement but if so that type of homework is uncommon in U.S. schools,” he said.
Maier says that students will be able to pick whatever they want to read from the school library, and that teachers and librarians would help with selections and recommendations. Audiobooks and other resources will be made available for young students who cannot get help from adults.
Not all students were excited for the change. One 10-year-old fifth-grader told WTSP-TV that a no homework policy “wouldn’t work” because students “would forget what they learned that day.” He suggested 30 minutes of homework was appropriate.
The policy does not apply to district middle schools and high schools. Teachers at the elementary schools will also reserve the right to assign occasional take-home work for large-scale projects and research papers.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.