A School in Holyoke Is Banning Homework

The Kelly Elementary School is embracing a much longer school day and a homework-free policy this year.


photo via istock.com/mike mols

An elementary school in Holyoke is taking a bold stand against homework as kids head back to class, banning after-school assignments for an entire year. Instead, educators are telling parents, students should be spending more time with their families, chatting about the learning they did while at school, and getting to bed early.

The move, as WCVB reports today, makes the Kelly Elementary School the latest to pick sides in the debate over whether homework helps students, or whether it just makes them frustrated and deepens negative feelings about education.

School days have also been extended at the elementary school, so students are in class for two hours longer than they were previously.

“Face time with a teacher … is going to impact their learning more than doing skill-and-practice work at home,” Jackie Glasheen, the school’s principal, tells ABC News.

The school is going homework-free during a one-year pilot.

Those extra two hours also likely cover more time than students would spend on assignments at home—at the elementary school level, the National Educational Association recommends about 10 minutes of homework per night for each year of school (so, 20 minutes of homework for second graders, 40 minutes for fourth graders). How much homework students do varies school-to-school, though, and recent studies have found some young learners doing as much as three times that much work after school.

As for Holyoke, the district has been in need of a shake-up. After posting some of the lowest standardized test scores in the state, it was placed into receivership in 2015, a rare state takeover for underperforming schools. It could help: Lawrence, which also had its schools forced into receivership, saw improved test scores and graduation rates after its take-over.