Michelle Kim

NY School District Mulls Getting Rid of Homework

What to Know

  • A Rockland County school district is considering getting rid of homework for students at an elementary school
  • Two fifth-grade boys had petitioned for a homework ban, citing stress from the work; but it turns out officials were already considering it
  • A district administrator says it's not about banning homework, it's about "rethinking" it to help kids learn better

No homework: it's a mantra all kids want to hear. Now a New York school district is considering getting rid of it altogether. 

The idea started as a petition from fifth-graders Christopher DeLeon and Niko Keelie at Farley Elementary School in Stony Point and grew from there, but it's also part of of a bigger nationwide trend.

"I got stressed by homework a lot, so I just -- it took me a minute of thinking -- I want to get rid of homework," said Keelie.

The two boys decided to write a petition and present it to the school district making their case. They said most of their classmates agreed with their proposal -- and it turned out the school district also agreed.

In fact, the district had already considered reimagining their homework policy. 

"It's really not about banning homework or no homework -- it's about rethinking it, and how can we do it different to better the needs of our students," said assistant superintendent Kris Felicello. 

National school districts all over the country are experimenting with either eliminating homework or drastically reducing it, citing studies that have shown homework in elementary school doesn't actually help with learning and sometimes can hurt. 

"If you go home and you do homework, you're just thinking about that, and then you stutter and stuff," said DeLeon. "But if you don't, then you're relaxed and calm, and if you take a test more calmly, you get a better grade 'cause you're not thinking about other stuff." 

But not everyone agrees. Many parents have asked, if their children don't do homework, what will they do in the afternoon -- and how will they learn? 

Felicello's response to that: "I hope that kids would go home and they would read and they would discover things that they're interested in doing, and go on YouTube and figure out how to play the ukulele, or go and research what's going on with Space X, or talk to their friends or get outside and play."

The district is considering different options: one would allow ask for homework for their kids. They hope to have the new homework policy ready to go for the next school year. 

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