Parents are outraged with a public elementary school that has decided to do away with traditional homework assignments and let the children play instead, DNAinfo reports.
PS 116 in Kips Bay, New York, might be trying to revolutionize the way our education system teaches young children.
It stopped assigning take-home math worksheets and essays to students, and teachers are encouraging children to read books and spend time with their families instead.
“The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established,” the school’s principal, Jane Hsu, wrote in a letter to parents in February. “They include: children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”
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The decision was supported by the School Leadership Team, a group made up of parents and staff members.
Last year, a Homework Committee was established after the group became concerned over the the number of students who were forced to sit out at recess for failing to turn in homework assignments.
The committee determined that there was “no link between elementary school homework and success in school,” according to the minutes of a December 2014 meeting.
In the letter, Hsu went on to explain that the school spent more than a year “analyzing studies focused on the effects of traditional homework.” It decided that students between pre-K and fifth grade should focus on activities that “have been proven to have a positive impact on their academic performance and social/emotional development.”
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“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,” Hsu added.
The letter recommended for parents to limit how long children spent on TV, video games or on the computer. It also told parents they could speak with teachers to voice any concerns. DNAinfo reports that there are many.
Several parents are not thrilled with the new policy. Some are threatening to remove their children from the school.
“They didn’t have much to begin with, but now homework is obsolete,” said Daniel Tasman, whose child is a second-grader at PS 116. “They’ve decided that giving homework to younger ages (elementary school students) isn’t viable. I don’t necessarily agree.”
“I think they should have homework — some of it is about discipline,” added Tasman, who said he’s already entered her daughter in a lottery for a charter school. “I want (my daughter) to have fun, but I also want her to be working towards a goal.
“I was just thinking maybe I’ll keep my daughter here for another year, but this pushed me over the edge.”
One parent has decided to take it upon himself to assign his child homework assignments.
“This is their time to learn now, when they have good memory,” said Stanley, whose son is in the third grade. He declined to give his last name out of concern for his child.
“I give him extra work, though. I go to Barnes & Nobles and give him my own homework.”
Hsu released a statement defending the school’s new homework policy.
We are excited that we are redefining the landscape of homework — but we are certainly not eliminating homework. We are creating opportunities for students and their families to engage in activities that research has proven to benefit academic and social-emotional success in the elementary grades. We look forward to seeing the positive impact our newly-designed homework options will have on our students and their families.
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