You read that right. In this high stakes environment where kids are expected to do homework every night of the week beginning with Kindergarten, a principal in New York is calling for no homework.
P.S. 116 on East 33rd Street have stopped assigning take-home math worksheets and essays, and are instead encouraging students to read books and spend time with their family, according to a letter the school’s principal, Jane Hsu, sent to parents last month.
Hsu says his school spent over a year “analyzing studies focused on the effects of traditional homework” and decided that it was more important for the Pre-K through fifth grade students to do activities that “have been proven to have a positive impact on student academic performance and social/emotional development” such as reading at their own pace and playing.
“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 goes on to explain that homework isn’t necessarily a good thing for grammar school children. There is no overwhelming evidence that homework helps to get students ahead or garner higher test scores.
Parents are worried that their children aren’t learning enough and are threatening to pull their children out of P.S. 116.
I have a suggestion for these parents. Come to my district, all the way across the country, where you will see that children as young as 5, have homework every night of the week and it takes anywhere from a half hour to 3 to 4 hours a night. See the tears and frustration, the lack of real family time, the diminishing childhoods and frustrated parents who don’t have the patience to try to figure out the “new math.”
Then go back to principal Hsu and argue your position against quality family time and beg for more worksheets.