As a longtime fan of Sara Bennett and her Stop Homework movement, I was thrilled she sent this link today about a Manhattan public school that has decided to ditch homework. Then I was doubly thrilled to see: This is the school my own kids attended! It’s just a few blocks from the Empire State Building — a beacon for the whole country.
Oh, how I remember the joy-crushing homework! Oh how I remember my own school afternoons spent drawing, writing, making coasters out of glue. (A bad idea, as it turned out.)
And as I just wrote to the principal, Jane Hsu: “Less homework means more time for kids to start exploring the city by subway!” DNAInfo’s Heather Holland reports:
KIPS BAY — A public elementary school is abolishing traditional homework assignments and telling kids to play instead — outraging parents who say they may pull their kids out of the school.
Teachers at 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.
“The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established,” Hsu wrote in her letter, which was sent home with students.
“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.”
Hsu explained that the school spent more than 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.”
Naturally, some parents are already angry. They say they may pull their kids out of the school, or just create homemade homework, as if the sheer onerousness of worksheets is good for the soul and the synapses. We sure have been brainwashed into believing the only way kids learn is by having information shoved into them at pencil point. – L
*My kids’ old school!