Florida School District To Implement A No-Homework Policy For Elementary School Students, Enforcing Reading Instead

The policy will take effect this upcoming school year.

Having no homework was a dream for many of us in school. Instead of working on math equations and geography assignments, we fantasized about playing outside with friends, hanging out with family, or just watching television. 

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For Florida students in the Marion Country school district, their no-homework dreams are about to become a reality. Come next school year, the district will implement a no-homework policy.

The policy will only affect elementary school students in 31 public schools in the district. In place of homework, the students will be expected to read for 20 minutes each night. 

Heidi Maier, the new superintendent for the Marion County school district told The Washington Post she made the decision after reviewing research by University of Tennessee education professor Richard Allington that showed reading boosted elementary students' academic performance, but homework did not. 

While kids at the schools are likely thrilled, the decision has received mixed reaction from parents. Some feel homework is beneficial to children, and are citing studies that prove this or show there isn't enough evidence to suggest a no-homework policy is best. 

TIME points to a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper that shows a strong positive correlation between homework and achievement for 7th through 12th graders, but that the correlation is weak for younger students. However, Cooper told TIME last year that he recommends a small amount of homework for young students. 

Another long-term study revealed that homework was only effective for primary students performing below their peers. It stated that many experts are in favor of a "10-minute rule" where kids do approximately 10 minutes of homework for each grade. For example, a student in Grade 1 shouldn't exceed 10 minutes of homework.

Other studies show that homework should be balanced. Too much work can result in less family bonding, increased pressure, and emotional and physical fatigue. Conversely, too little homework can result in stronger critical thinking and understanding.

Cover image via Shutterstock I Crystal Kirk

(H/T: BuzzFeed)

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