Homework policy in WCSD
A school teacher in Texas has banned homework from her classroom, and her policy has gone viral. In Washoe County, there are a few schools that have also adopted that policy.
For many students, the work doesn't end after the school bell rings.
"It was a daily struggle and a daily frustration of the amount of homework and just trying to get through it," said Rebecca Gorton, a parent.
Gorton enrolled her three young daughters into private school for three years, but she didn't like the results.
"They're in school for six or so hours and by the time they got home, we were still doing homework between our three daughters for about 3 hours. Then it's dinner time then bed time."
In Washoe County, teachers instruct for more than 1,100 hours out of the year, but it's not enough time to get through the material, which is when homework gets assigned.
Last year, Gorton pulled her kids out of the brick and mortar school and enrolled them into the Nevada Connections Academy, a free virtual public school that doesn't need to assign homework.
"It's less pressuring and you can go at your own speed," said 11-year-old Larissa Gorton.
Now, all three girls are on the honor roll.
The Washoe County School District does not have a strict homework policy. It's ultimately the individual school's decision; the district just provides guidelines. For instance, the average homework time for kindergarteners is 15 minutes per night, 30 minutes for grades 1-3, 45 minutes for grades 4-6, 90 minutes for middle schoolers and 120-180 minutes for high schoolers.
"If a student can't do homework, we've put in our policy that there shouldn't be a punishment. They shouldn't miss recess and things like that as a result of not doing their homework," said Kindra Fox, the WCSD director of curriculum.
Fox says there's little research that shows homework can improve a student's performance at the elementary level, but they do show homework can be effective with proper feedback from the teacher.
"Whether it's meaningful for the students that's important also the feedback the teacher gives as a result of the homework, that's really what allows students to grow in their understanding," Fox added.