A 2015 study, for instance, found that kindergarteners, who researchers tend to agree shouldn’t have any take-home work, were spending about 25 minutes a night on it. As many children, not to mention their parents and teachers, are drained by their daily workload, some schools and districts are rethinking how homework should work—and some teachers are doing away with it entirely.
They’re reviewing the research on homework (which, it should be noted, is contested) and concluding that it’s time to revisit the subject.
“The origin for this was general parental dissatisfaction, which not surprisingly was coming from a particular demographic,” Schneider says.
“Middle-class white parents tend to be more vocal about concerns about homework …
Jack Schneider, an education professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell whose daughter attends school in Somerville, is generally pleased with the new policy.
But, he says, it’s part of a bigger, worrisome pattern.
Her thinking: Some of her students, she says, have little time for homework because they’re working 30 hours a week or responsible for looking after younger siblings.
As educators reduce or eliminate the homework they assign, it’s worth asking what amount and what kind of homework is best for students.
Earlier this year, the district of Somerville, Massachusetts, also rewrote its homework policy, reducing the amount of homework its elementary and middle schoolers may receive.
In grades six through eight, for example, homework is capped at an hour a night and can only be assigned two to three nights a week.