New York Public School Abolishes Homework

Jane Hsu, principal of P.S. 116 in New York City, cites research that suggests students up until fifth grade would benefit more from playing and spending time with family. 

New York Public School Abolishes Homework

Students at a New York City public elementary school are pinching themselves this week after their principal announced that homework had been abolished. According to this report from DNA Info, the children -- all pre-K to fifth grade -- are instead being told to play, read books, and spend time with their families.

I can only imagine how awful the recently promoted sixth graders must feel.

Jane Hsu, principal of P.S. 116, cites research that suggests students of this age group would benefit more from non-homework activities. She says the school spent a year looking over various studies and concluded that there are better methods for fostering academic and personal success than through take-home assignments. Some of the school's parents are countering with accusations that eliminating homework will stunt the development of healthy study habits. There's also the worry that these formative years ought not to be wasted while children's memories are still strong.

While it's generally understood that too much homework at a young age can be detrimental, there's also research pointing to the benefits that come with homework habits, in particular to kids with learning disabilities. An objective look at the research leads to the realization that the jury is still out on whether homework helps or hurts. In all likelihood, this just isn't the sort of thing that can be generalized. Homework is not good for all; it's not bad for all. So much depends on what each kid needs on an individual, case-by-case basis.

When the dust settles from the initial outrage, P.S. 116 will be a very interesting school to keep an eye on. Researchers will doubtlessly analyze whatever effects result from every student's dream come true: the abolition of homework. Until then, kids across the country can keep their fingers crossed that P.S. 116 becomes the highest performing school in the world.

Read more at DNA Info.

Photo credit: Pressmaster / Shutterstock

Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

A close up of Bathynomus raksasa

SJADE 2018
Surprising Science
  • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
  • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
  • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
Keep reading Show less

Is it ethical to pay people to get vaccinated?

It could lead to a massive uptake in those previously hesitant.

Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

A financial shot in the arm could be just what is needed for Americans unsure about vaccination.

Keep reading Show less

Every 27.5 million years, the Earth’s heart beats catastrophically

Geologists discover a rhythm to major geologic events.

Credit: desertsolitaire/Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • It appears that Earth has a geologic "pulse," with clusters of major events occurring every 27.5 million years.
  • Working with the most accurate dating methods available, the authors of the study constructed a new history of the last 260 million years.
  • Exactly why these cycles occur remains unknown, but there are some interesting theories.
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

Galactic wind from early universe detected

Researchers discovered a galactic wind from a supermassive black hole that sheds light on the evolution of galaxies.