One Kips Bay, N.Y. has become a lightning rod for controversy following a choice to ban homework indefinitely. The parents of the pre-k through fifth grade students who attend Kips Bay elementary school P.S. 116 were stunned when Principal Jane Hsu sent out letters that explained the new policy.
“The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established. 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.”
“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.”
Instead of homework, this Kips Bay school hopes to allow children to play more and spend more time with their families. In addition, it’s believed that allowing children to learn at their own pace will boost the confidence and enthusiasm of the elementary school students.
Not all parents are happy with this Kips Bay school’s new policy. According to DNAInfo, some of them are even threatening to pull their children out of the school altogether.
Daniel Tasman, a father of a second-grader at P.S. 116, said that homework was considered obsolete by the school and admitted that not much of it was assigned prior to the ban.
“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. I want [my daughter] to have fun, but I also want her to be working towards a goal.”
There are studies that suggest that homework is very important for school-age children, especially younger children. One such study claimed that 30 minutes of homework each day could improve GPA averages by half a point.
It ultimately comes down to concerns about unnecessary stress and worries that the one size fits all approach seen in American public schools just aren’t working. While this Kips Bay school thinks abolishing homework altogether may be the answer, some may feel that a more moderate approach would have been more effective.
There’s nothing that parents who disagree with the policies can do except remove their kids from this school. A New York Department of Education official said that the city doesn’t have a mandatory homework policy. How homework is handled is left up to the school principals and teachers.
Do you think a no more homework policy is best? Should this Kips Bay elementary school have taken a less extreme approach to homework?
[Image Credit: John Morgan]