Too much homework? Not in this class. Teacher cancels homework for rest of year

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(Courtesy Samantha Gallagher)

(CNN) — Students in a second-grade class in Texas are catching a break on homework. They won’t get any — all year long.

Brandy Young, a teacher in the Godley Independent School District, sent home a letter to the parents of her second-grade class announcing the new homework policy.

“I am trying something new,” Young wrote in her note. “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.”

At least one parent loved the idea. Samantha Gallagher posted the letter to her Facebook page, proclaiming her daughter, Brooke, “is loving her new teacher already!”

Gallagher said she was stunned when she read the letter.

“My initial reaction was positive. She handed out the letter at a meet-the-teacher night and discussed her reasoning with us,” Gallagher told CNN. “My husband and I were both taken back, in a good way. Brooke has had homework since preschool. So the idea of not having any made her extremely happy!”

What does the research say?

Young said she’s read research that proves homework doesn’t help students.

But is she right? A study last year published in the American Journal of Family Therapy seems to back some of her up ideas.

The study found students in the early elementary school years are getting significantly more homework than is recommended by education leaders, in some cases nearly three times as much homework as is recommended.

“The cost is enormous,” said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the study’s contributing editor. “The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades or GPA, but there’s really a plethora of evidence that it’s detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills and their quality of life.”

But the correlation between homework and student performance is less clear cut.

Previous research, including a 2006 analysis of homework studies, found a link between time spent on homework and achievement but also found it was much stronger in secondary school versus elementary school. Another study, this one in 2012, found no relationship between time spent on homework and grades but did find a positive link between homework and performance on standardized tests.

Young couldn’t be reached for comment, but Gallagher said her family’s already putting the free time to good use. No more homework means allows more time for playing outdoors, reading, gymnastics and family time, Gallagher said.

CNN’s Kelly Wallace contributed to this story.

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