Education

Godley teacher’s no-homework letter a social media hit

Godley teacher says “no more homework”

Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher at Godley Elementary School, tells parents there will be no regular homework. Students should have dinner with their families, play outside and get to bed early. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)
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Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher at Godley Elementary School, tells parents there will be no regular homework. Students should have dinner with their families, play outside and get to bed early. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)

It sounds almost like every student’s dream: Instead of homework every evening, students in Brandy Young’s second-grade class at Godley Elementary can enjoy time playing outside, sharing dinner with their families and getting to bed early.

Young sent home a letter Aug. 16 notifying parents that she would not be assigning any homework for the entire year.

The letter became a social media hit after a parent whose daughter is in Young's class posted the letter on Facebook, picking up more than 67,000 shares and starting discussions about whether homework is necessary.

“Brooke is loving her new teacher already,” Samantha Gallagher said on the Facebook post.

Gallagher, via a Facebook message to the Star-Telegram, said she “absolutely had no idea how popular the post would become!”

She said she hasn’t spoken with any other parents from her daughter’s class yet, but she said others in the community are in love with the idea of no homework.

... 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.

Godley Elementary School teacher Brandy Young

In the letter, Young wrote, “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.”

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Superintendent Rich Dear said the district is getting dozens of calls from around the nation, from Minnesota to Florida.

Dear said the idea came about as part of an improvement process after evaluating grades during the last school year.

“Our first district non-negotiable is to make every decision in the best interest of our learners,” he said. “We encourage our teachers to be innovative and forward thinkers in our classrooms.”

Last year, the second-grade team sent homework packets out every Friday and were not seeing the results they wanted, so they are trying something new, the superintendent said. “As a team, they got together and decided reducing homework would be best for our kids.”

Dear said there are times when homework is appropriate, but not every night. He said studies show if there’s a need for it, and it is relevant, meaningful and valuable work, it is much better than just assigning worksheets.

“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 said. “We want to engage our kids and ignite their passions, not bore them with work they see has little meaning.”

According to a story on businessinsider.com, the no-homework theory is right. Some research has shown that test scores and knowledge retention can improve, but there is no conclusive evidence.

“I’m just trying to be innovative — I really want to be a leader of my classroom,” the teacher told Popsugar. “As a mom and as a teacher, [I found that] a lot of homework just wasn’t necessary, and it wasn’t the right thing for my students.”

Susan McFarland: 817-390-7984, @susanmcfarland1

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