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The wisdom behind no homework

New Homework policy
Source: Brandy Young

There's going to be a lot of hungry dogs in one Texas town after it was announced that students in a second-grade classroom were getting a break from homework for the entire year.

The policy was created by Godley, Texas teacher Brandy Young, who sent a letter home to parents announcing a new policy eliminating homework. The letter stated: "After much research this summer. I am trying something new…There will be no formally assigned homework this year." The letter was posted on Facebook by a parent of one of the children, and since then it has generated a lot of attention online.

The interesting thing, however, is Young's argument behind her policy. She says homework doesn't necessarily benefit her students: "Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance."

Is she right? Ask any parent and they might tell you that children today are often overloaded, and are unable to handle the huge workloads from school, combined with the extracurricular activities that have become a necessary part of their children's lives.

Denise Pope, a Stanford University education professor and author, agrees with Young's claim.

Pope told CNBC, "This teacher is correct about the research regarding homework at the elementary school level. Several researchers have found that there is no correlation between elementary school homework and academic achievement, with the exception of assigning free reading."

However, would eliminating homework really solve the problem for all children?

Parents with ample time and means will seemingly have no problem arranging extracurricular activities to replace homework. But what about working class families with two working parents who are unable to sign their kids up for extracurricular learning? Will these children lose out if they don't have homework to do after school hours?

Robert Pressman, Director of Research at the New England Center for Pediatric Research, told Power Lunch on Wednesday that he believes homework is actually a socioeconomic issue, and that eliminating it would be beneficial to children from working class homes.

"We found that homework was a problem, and a detrimental stressor, for families with a single parent, families where both parents had to work, families with parents who were Spanish speakers, and families with parents with limited education. We suggested that in some cases homework might be unintentional discrimination."

This seems to be Young's point in the end. Maybe just having less stress and more time to sit down with their parents and talk could benefit children more than a twenty-page math packet ever could.