Students in one Florida county won’t have to worry about doing homework, thanks to a new policy that affects 31 elementary schools in that area, Today.com reports.
Instead of homework, Marion County Public Schools families will be encouraged to read to their children for at least 20 minutes each night. According to the Washington Post, students can choose what they want to read, and will get help from students and librarians. And if kids don’t have an adult at home to help them read, they can get help from volunteers or audio books. The policy only applies to elementary school students, so once they hit middle school, they’ll have to do homework.
Superintendent Heidi Maier said she made the decision based on research that shows making young children do homework doesn’t make them academically stronger, but reading to them every night does. “We are not only strengthening family involvement and strengthening the child’s love of reading, but we are providing the teachers with more time to teach,” Maier told WUSF, “and in the end, that’s what’s going to make a difference.”
The decision received mixed responses, with some parents praising the change while others noting homework helped them know what their kids were learning in school, and it also taught their kids how to be organized and responsible.
Overall, there hasn’t been a ton of research yet about the consequences of banning homework, but the small number of schools that have tried it haven’t reported any negative effects yet.