Christmas certainly has come early for these children.
Elementary school students of Marion County School District, Florida, are getting rid of homework once and for all when they return to school for the 2017-18 school year this fall.
What a time to be alive!
Instead teachers will request students read for 20 minutes each night. Moreover, students can select their own books with the help of teachers and school libraries. For kids who don’t have adults at home who can help them read, volunteers, audio books and other helpful resources will be made available.
Although regular homework will be banned, teachers can occasionally assign things like science projects or research papers, said the district’s spokesman Kevin Christian.
Heidi Maier, the new superintendent of the 31-school district, said she made the decision after researching the best strategies to improving academic performance in students. She said the research was conducted by University of Tennessee education professor Richard Allington, who argues reading enhances younger students’ academic achievements rather than assigning them traditional homework.
“The quality of homework assigned is so poor that simply getting kids to read replacing homework with self-selected reading was a more powerful alternative,” Allington told The Washington Post. “Maybe some kinds of homework might raise achievement, but if so that type of homework is uncommon in U.S. schools.”
A similar study by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper found the same results — homework has a positive impact on students in grades seven through 12 more than it did for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. But research is clear on the advantages of students reading aloud to a fluent adult.
Maier said her unconventional decision earned applause from many parents but there are some who are still doubtful of its success.
The policy will apply to all elementary school students in the district but, unfortunately, not to middle or high school students.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins