Marion County FL has implemented a “no homework policy” across its 31 elementary schools. The policy is understandably popular among students, but parents are concerned that their children will be less prepared for higher levels of education.
Superintendent Heidi Maier said in a statement with NBC’s Today,
“It’s no traditional homework, no work sheets, no endless pages of workbooks. Instead our children are reading aloud with their parents at least 20 minutes a night.“
The ban comes at a time when American schools continue to lag far behind other industrialized nations. Pew Research has conducted numerous studies showing that the U.S. is not in the top 10 in math, science, or reading.
“One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.”
There are, however, other studies that show that even though other countries rank higher than America, they actually issue less homework on average. South Korea, whose education system was ranked #1 by Pearson Review issues only 2.9 hours of homework each week. By contrast, American public schools ranked 17th and issued 6.1 hours each week.
While it isn’t clear exactly what needs to be done to raise America’s ranking, it is clear that challenging students less is likely not the answer. Easier classes, more lax grading, less homework, and lower overall standards will not push students to succeed at a level that will leave them in a competitive position against the rest of the world.