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N.Y. Elementary School Eliminates Homework, But Parents Protest

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A Manhattan elementary school has decided to stop giving students homework assignments, instead telling them to have fun, read books, and enjoy their family's company—and some parents are not happy about it.

P.S. 116 principal Jane Hsu explained the decision in a letter to parents, saying that traditional homework can lead to "children's frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning."

School officials decided to implement the policy only after carefully considering research on the subject, she said, noting that "not one of [the studies] could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success."

Several parents have responded by threatening to pull their children out of the school, DNAinfo reports. "I was just thinking maybe I'll keep my daughter here for another year, but this pushed me over the edge," said Daniel Tasman, whose daughter is in the 2nd grade. Tasman says that homework helps build "discipline" in children.

Stanley (last name withheld), father of a 3rd grader at P.S. 116 and presumable expert in child development, is compensating for the lack of formal homework by assigning his own. "This is their time to learn now, when they have good memory," he told DNAinfo. "I go to Barnes & Nobles and give him my own homework."

The changes at P.S. 116 are the latest development in an ongoing debate about the importance of homework, particularly in elementary school. Hsu doesn't seem concerned about the backlash, though, telling DNAInfo, "We are excited that we are redefining the landscape of homework."

Image: Bart/Flickr Creative Commons, slightly modified

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