East Tennessee schools consider ‘no homework policy’

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2015 file photo, public school buses are parked in Springfield, Ill. The lazy days of summer are ending for millions of children as they grab their backpacks, pencils and notebooks and return to the classroom for a new school year. No more staying up late during the week. Farewell to sleeping in. And, hello homework! (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The no-homework movement is growing in Knoxville.

Amherst Elementary decided this year to adopt a school-wide “no homework policy.” Some teachers at Brickey McCloud Elementary are also giving no homework a try.

Stopping homework is something both school said they had talked about for a while. Amherst teacher Jyl Smithson said she is seeing a big difference in her student’s attitude.

“I see a more general enthusiasm about school. They want to be here. They want to learn,” said Smithson.

Note from teachers about ‘no homework policy’
Note from teachers about ‘no homework policy’

Parents said they are also seeing a difference at home. Kristin Clark, the parent of a first grade student at Brickey McCloud Elementary School said before the policy was put in place she was rushing to cook dinner, do chores and help children with homework after getting off work. She said her first grader still does small exercises to get a prize, but that’s optional.

“The school year has just started, but we have loved it,” said Clark. “I feel like they are getting what they need and they don’t’ need more time at home.”

Richard Allington, a professor of literacy studies at the University of Tennessee said he agrees that homework in elementary school is not the best way to learn.

“Kids who do homework, don’t produce any better than kids who don’t do homework,” said Allington. He says the best alternative to homework is reading, something he says has a more positive effect on achievement than worksheets.

Smithson said her students are actually reading more at home now that they don’t have homework.

Blount County Schools are also considering a no homework policy. School administrators said they are planning on starting a task force to explore homework practices.

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