KIPS BAY School Bans Homework, tells kids to play instead

KIPS BAY School Bans Homework, tells kids to play instead

KIPS BAY, N.Y. – A public elementary school in Manhattan is taking a dramatically different approach to homework, which encourages students to play more, and spend more time with their families. P.S. 116 has essentially done away with homework—at least homework as we know it.

In a letter sent home to parents at the pre-k through fifth grade public school last month, Principal Jane Hsu announced that teachers will stop assigning take-home worksheets so students can spend more time playing and reading at their own pace.

“The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established. They include: children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning . . . In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.”

And while the idea of no nightly homework battles may seem appealing to some, many parents at the school are not happy with the new policy and are talking about pulling their students because of the decision.

“I think they should have homework — some of it is about discipline,” said Daniel Tasman, the father of a second grader at the school. “I want [my daughter] to have fun, but I also want her to be working towards a goal.”

But Principal Hsu isn’t backing down from her decision. She says the policy change — which she calls “redefining the landscape of homework” rather than eliminating it — is the result of so many students being punished during recess because they failed to hand in homework assignments from the night before.

“We are creating opportunities for students and their families to engage in activities that research has proven to benefit academic and social-emotional success in the elementary grades. We look forward to seeing the positive impact our newly-designed homework options will have on our students and their families.”