Brandy Young is a second-grade teacher from Texas who’s gained national attention for a policy that sounds like something straight out of a class president campaign: Homework sucks! When Samantha Gallagher posted a picture on Facebook about the ban (and her daughter’s new favorite teacher), plenty of parents eagerly agreed. Homework does in fact blow and less of it makes life a little easier on you, too. (Next on the agenda: Recess rules!)
“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance,” the note reads. Ironically, Mrs. Young did her homework on the topic. The Center for Public education reports that homework for younger children does not have much to do with school performance, and other studies conclude it can make learning more difficult. The director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute John Hattie reviewed more than 800 meta-studies covering over 80 million students to figure out if homework was linked to better outcomes. Analysis of his research showed that homework does little to benefit kids under the age of 11. And by that time you wouldn’t have understood their homework anyway.
Parents aren’t the only ones agreeing with Mrs. Young. Baltimore Country schools haven’t stopped assigning homework, but they have stopped grading it (they have better things to do). Homedale Elementary in Idaho went as far as banning it throughout the entire school — arguably the best thing to happen to Idaho since that time someone could accurately pick it out on a map. Because all this went down this past month in preparation for the school year, it’s hard to tell who’s the copycat here.
The National Education Association‘s official recommendation states that kid’s homework should be limited to 10 to 20 minutes a night for first graders, and increase 10 minutes for each grade after that. The letter has received over 73,000 shares since it was posted, so the NEA may have to revise their guidelines if they want to compete in this popularity contest. Until then, you can rely on your own unofficial recommendations and do whatever you want.