Some 550 children in Massachusetts might now be the envy of students everywhere: A new policy at Kelly Elementary School in Holyoke means they won't be given a single homework assignment all year. But before you file your child's transfer papers, know this: The school—under state receivership after Holyoke was declared a "chronically under-performing" district in 2015—is also extending school hours this year. Students will now attend classes from 8am to 4pm, rather than 9am to 3pm. "Some people think it's a crazy idea," Principal Jackie Glasheen tells Western Mass News. But "face time with a teacher … is going to impact their learning more than doing skill-and-practice work at home," she adds, per ABC News.
Some question whether an eight-hour school day is too long for kindergarteners, while a critic says that by lowering expectations of students, schools are missing the opportunity to teach behavior and time-management skills. But an education researcher says homework can make students jaded toward schoolwork in general, and leave them frustrated and exhausted. "In classrooms and schools where little or no homework is assigned, results have been extremely positive in terms of students’ academic performance as well as their attitudes about learning," he says. Educators plan to review standardized tests next summer before deciding if the policy and longer school day will stay in place. (A second-grade teacher also banned homework.)