An elementary school teacher in North Texas has instructed her students to set aside the books when class is over.
Instead, she wants them to spend more time with their families.
Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Godley Independent School District, not far from Dallas-Fort Worth, passed out a letter to parents, telling them that she will not be assigning homework to students this year.
“After much research this summer, I am trying something new,” she wrote in the letter, which was posted on Facebook. “Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year.
“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”
The letter, which was shared by a parent on Facebook early last week, has since been shared more than 68,500 times.
“This is so awesome as it demonstrates how many parents and teachers would support this kind of policy! Especially for kids in Elementary school,” one person wrote. “It prioritizes family time and youth activity! I feel 8 hrs a day in school for kids this age is enough.”
Samantha Gallagher, the parent who posted it online, wrote that it “just goes to show how universal this subject is!”
“We’re happy that at the end of a long school day she’ll get to come home and unwind and be a kid … go outside to play, make new friends, spend more time as a family,” Gallagher told CBS News.
Young has been teaching in Godly for about eight years, according to her biography on the school district’s website. She lives with her husband and her young son in Joshua, a small city south of Fort Worth, the site said.
“My family revolves around a love of God, sports, and hunting,” she wrote in her bio. “I love to travel, shop, make crafts, go out to eat and spend time with the people I love.”
Young could not immediately be reached for comment, but the school district confirmed that she sent the letter.
Young told CBS News that she made the no-homework rule because the old system wasn’t working for her students — and she handed out the letter explaining her decision at a recent “meet-the-teacher night.”
Young said her students “work hard all day.”
“When they go home they have other things they need to learn there,” she told the news station. “I’m trying to develop their whole person; it’s not beneficial to go home and do pencil and paper work.”
According to research from the Center for Public Education, the age of the students, the type of assignments and the amount of study time are important factors in the much-debated homework conversation.
“The central lesson of this body of research is that homework is not a strategy that works for all children,” the group said. “Because of its possible negative effects of decreasing students’ motivation and interest, thereby indirectly impairing performance, homework should be assigned judiciously and moderately.
“Heavy homework loads should not be used as a main strategy for improving home-school relations or student achievement.”
Superintendent Rich Dear told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the second-graders were taking home homework packets at the end of each week last year but that the teachers weren’t seeing the results.
“As a team, they got together and decided reducing homework would be best for our kids,” he told the newspaper.
But, Dear said, the new policy does not mean the students will never work from home.
“We’re not saying we are never going to assign homework, but we’re not going to assign it just for the sake of assigning it,” he told the newspaper. “We want to engage our kids and ignite their passions, not bore them with work they see has little meaning.”
“Our superintendent really encouraged us to be innovators,” Young told CBS News. “Whether or not it’s popular, I just wanted to see if it would work. You can’t know if it’s gonna work unless you try it.”
She added: “If something doesn’t work, change it.”