MEDFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Suffolk County school district is considering limiting or even eliminating homework for elementary school students.

The Patchogue-Medford School District has set up an online survey for parents asking them what they think.

“Schools over the past 20, 25 years have this love affair with testing and this love affair with burdening students with unnecessary things to do,” Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes said. “I said to the board why don’t we inquire to our school community, we are starting with our parents, about their thoughts about homework.”

Proponents say getting rid of the homework would take away some of the stress put on the children, but others feel homework is a fundamental part of school.

With a no-homework policy, Hynes said kindergarten through sixth grade students would instead read when they get home, spend time with family and play outside.

“I’m not saying they should go on the screen and spend time on their phones or computers, I’m talking about getting outside, playing with their friends and have child-centered direction as far as what they want to do physically,” Hynes said. “That is just as important if not more important than academic work.”

Hynes said the school district believes “in physical growth, emotional growth, social growth and academic growth.”

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the conversation has divided households.

“I think they need it. They come home, that’s how they learn. The teacher will send them with ABCs and parents are obligated to follow through with it,” Shirley Johnson said.

Patchogue-Medford would be the first district in the area to modify, scale back, limit or do away with homework for elementary school kids.

The parents surveyed have also weighed in on social media.

“Possibly no homework? The softening of America,” one parent said.

“Admirable. Our young kids are overwhelmed,” another added.

A district in Vermont said its plan worked. Kindergarten through sixth grade students were required to read, have family dinners, and play outside. They were not assigned homework.

“Physical growth, emotional growth, social growth, those particularly have been wiped away from the American school system,” Hynes said.

The district says it will analyze the results of the survey and present their findings to the school board in the next few months.

If parents approve a version of the ‘no homework plan’ a pilot program could begin in late spring.

  1. I do not agree with the “no homework policy”, instead I agree with “homework reduction”. I personally believe we as a school district should put this proposal into a ” trial and error phase”, by requiring homework from our student 2 days a week (Mondays and Tuesdays) back to back and get it out of the way! I can most certainly be sure that years from now this decision will come back to haunt us, a “no homework policy” will academically have a negative effect on our students in some way or another. Mind you this policy only applies to the elementary school children and not middle or high school students, if we take a no homework approach with our elementary school children, when the times comes for them to attend middle school and high school they are going to have a hard time adjusting, and their penmanship may not be that appealing. Also we must consider the community that we live in and what is going on around us, here on Long Island (with all due respect) there is a BIG problem with illegal drugs (heroin) to the point where free narcan training classes are held and just about anyone is able to carry and administer it, including the drug abuser, and this drug problem here on LI also affect children younger than high-schoolers. We can not let our children have too much time on their hands, as my grandmother told me ” idle time is the devils playground”, I would rather my child be stuck doing homework than to be outside with his/her free time trying drugs for the first time with their most trusted friends, just because they have the extra time! But of course parenting plays a role! With the “homework reduction” policy our children will be able to have time to enjoy more structured outdoor activities, spend more time with friends an family physically (rather then being in the house in front of the television,video game or on the phone) and have less academic stress. It would be nice to actually see more kids outside playing in the front lawn when I drive down these LI streets, nowadays kids are in the house a lot more, which plays a role in the obesity problem this country has. Food for thought folks.

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