US School District Rethinks Homework Policy

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. wear (someone) out / weər aʊt / (idiom) – to make someone tired

    Doing a lot of homework every night wears students out.

  2. extracurricular / ˌek·strə·kəˈrɪk·jə·lər / (adj) – referring to activities that are not part of regular classes

    My extracurricular activities include playing basketball and football.

  3. detriment / ˈde·trə·mənt / (n) – anything that can harm someone or something

    Cigarette smoking is a detriment to people’s health.

  4. slack off / slæk ʌv / (idiom) – to give less effort to do something

    The students slacked off with their studies, so they failed their test.

  5. deprive of / dɪˈpraɪv ʌv / (phrasal) – to prevent someone from having or experiencing something

    Too much homework deprives children of quality time with their family.


Read the text below.

North Rockland Central School District officials are reconsidering their homework policy after receiving a petition from two students.

Two fifth graders circulated a signature campaign that asks their teachers to stop giving homework. According to them, doing homework wears them out and negatively affects their performance on exams. One of the students also found it hard to complete his homework because of an extracurricular activity.

The petition was forwarded to the North Rockland administration after getting over 150 signatures. Consequently, officials are now thinking of how to revise their homework policy across their eight elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

However, parents worry that the lack of homework would be a detriment to their children’s education. They said that children might either slack off or be deprived of learning opportunities without anything to do after school. A North Rockland official responded by saying that homework will not be banned entirely. Instead, home learning will be introduced. Unlike traditional homework, this activity involves open-ended and long-term tasks like writing or building something.

Similarly, a Florida school district made headlines last year when it banned homework and replaced it with a 20-minute daily reading task. This homework ban applies only to elementary students and not to middle and high school students. An official from the school district explained that this scheme was based on a study, which found that doing traditional homework does not improve the school performance of younger students. On the other hand, homework can help high school students do well on standardized exams.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with banning homework in schools? Why or why not?
• Besides home learning and reading, how else can students continue learning outside of school? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Aside from what was mentioned in the article, what other difficulties do students usually experience in school? Discuss.
• Which of these difficulties do you think is the most detrimental to students? Explain.