Florida Homework Ban: Marion County Implements ‘No Homework Policy’ For Elementary Schools

Parents and educators have strong opinions on whether homework is a necessity or if it is too much for young children. It seems that the theory that kids can learn and might even benefit from having no homework is being tested. According to Today, Marion County has implemented a “no homework policy” for its 31 public elementary schools. Although the superintendent has stated the reasons, there have been both positive and negative responses to the homework ban.

The no homework policy does not apply to middle or high school students. Superintendent Heidi Maier explained that research shows homework does not benefit young children. Based on that research, the decision was made to get rid of it, at least for this year.

“It’s no traditional homework, no work sheets, no endless pages of workbooks. Instead, our children are reading aloud with their parents at least 20 minutes a night.”

Parents and teachers have gone back and forth on the homework debate for the past few years. Some educators only send home what is necessary. Other times, parents are overwhelmed with the pile of assignments that are due each day. Those that are against homework claim that children are getting too stressed out. They have also explained that their children go to bed late because they are completely overloaded.

However, there are others that feel homework has its benefits. Some experts claim that it helps teach responsibility, time management, and organization skills. There are some studies that show homework helps children have improved test performance. However, whether those children actually understand the concepts or are simply good at memorizing answers is widely debated.

After learning about Marion County’s homework ban, parents have responded. Heather Ergle was “stunned” when hearing the news. She said that her 8-year-old son actually enjoys homework.

“The homework is kind of a little window into his day.”

Then, there are other parents that are thrilled with the new approach. Lauren Roger has two sons and daily assignments have been a constant battle.

“Homework has been a struggle. We had nights that we’d be sitting at the kitchen table with tears.”

Marion County is not the first to ban homework. According to the Washington Post, Orchard School in Vermont got rid of homework. Six months later, it was determined that students were performing just as well as before. It was speculated that the children might even be doing better. As the article stated, the kids had “time to be creative thinkers at home and follow their passions.”

Orchard School Principal Mark Trifilio said parents completed a survey regarding the homework ban. The majority of parents at the school responded, and most supported the no homework policy. The respondents said their children had time to do other things than complete math worksheets. Surveys also showed that parents claimed kids were reading more on their own than they did when homework was sent home.

Of course, a few were concerned. Some worried about missed learning opportunities. Others wondered if the students would be prepared for middle school.

Other countries provide fewer classroom hours. They also give less homework, yet those students continue to outperform American children, according to Education Week. However, there seems to be no clear answer on exactly what the problems are and how to correct them.

What do you think of Marion County Public Schools “no homework policy” for elementary school students? Are you supportive of the homework ban?

[Featured Image by Brian A Jackson/Thinkstock]