Should elementary schools ban homework?

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Parents and students across the country are starting to settle into their after-school routines, but for some kids, there’s one less thing on the to-do list: homework.

Certain schools in Massachusetts are trying something different. Instead of assigning homework, they’re making the school day two hours longer.

The principal of Kelly Elementary School in Holyoke told local media outlets they are trying out a no-homework policy for one year. This summer,  officials will look at standardized tests and other measures to evaluate whether the policy helps or hurts academic performance.

“Some people think it’s a crazy idea,” Western Mass News quoted Principal Jackie Glasheen as saying.

Glasheen said by extending the school day by two hours, they are “providing specific instructional intervention” to help under-performing students.

Supporters say the plan will give teachers more time to cover content and more support for students who need extra time to process that content.

It could also take some of the burden off parents, who may not feel adequate at helping their kids with certain assignments.

And, while homework can be an important part of teaching kids responsibility, experts point out that spending too much time on homework takes time away from other important activities like chores, family time and sleep.

Researchers have found that many elementary school kids in America are being assigned too much homework.

A study released by The American Journal of Family Therapy in 2015 found students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade get three times more homework than necessary.

The National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association recommend a “10-minute rule” that increases as students age: starting with 10 minutes for first-graders, then 20 minutes for second-graders, etc. Additional time spent on homework increased “family stress,”  The American Journal of Family Therapy reported.

What do you think?