Citing research, a Florida county has eliminated homework from its schools
Summer can be a grind for parents suddenly faced with entertaining their children 24/7 for three months. It’s important we highlight the bits of good news that seep through, like this: a Florida superintendent has decided that homework is both pointless and detrimental.
Is it September yet?
According to a story on a local ABC News station, the superintendent of schools in Florida’s Marion Country has done away with homework at their elementary schools, much like this Massachusetts district last year.
Heidi Maier has directed the teachers at her county’s 31 schools to stop providing homework to their students. “The research showed that students who are given a preponderance of homework do not perform better, or get better grades, than those who do not,” the superintendent stated.
There will be exceptions for special projects and research papers, but gone are the days of time-consuming homework packets being sent home in backpacks every night. Instead, the teachers will encourage parents to read with their children for at least 20 minutes each evening after school lets out.
Maier came to this decision after studying research from University of Tennessee professor Richard Allington. Allington, a professor of theory and practice in teacher education, put forth the idea that students benefit from being relieved of the stress of school work when they get home, and that reading to kids has more benefits.
And, lets be honest, reading is a lot more fun for both parents and children.
We’re not sure who will be more excited by this news, Florida students or their parents. Obviously it’s the students, but parents can’t be far behind. From the limits it puts on the kids’ play time to the strain it puts on family time, the daily grind of homework wears on every family.
I live in Brooklyn, and last year when a school nearby ditched their homework requirements, I’d never been more jealous. My soon-to-be second grader actually does his without much fuss (despite the fact that it’s insane that first graders even have homework), but it still takes a while. It eats into the few precious hours we have together after school and before bedtime. It doesn’t help that I can offer little assistance (I’ve spent the last 20 years avoiding math, and I just plain don’t understand Common Core).
Here’s hoping this summer is full of more good news, with even more schools seeing the error of their ways and getting rid of this homework stuff for good.