The promise of "no homework" is usually just the stuff of dreams for kids who'd rather be doing, well, anything else. But last week when Samantha Gallagher's daughter Brooke headed back to school, she returned with a letter from her teacher explaining that it would be a reality.
"After much research this summer, I am trying something new," reads the letter, which Gallagher shared in a now-viral Facebook post. "Homework will only consist of work your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year."
The Texas teacher, Brandy Young, wrote that she instead had another assignment for students — and their parents.
"Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early," she wrote.
As Young mentions, her homework policy isn't just a Get Out of Jail Free card — parents, teachers and social scientists alike have long debated the benefits of homework.
According to an article in the journal Educational Leadership, strong cases have been made for both camps, with some studies showing that after-school work has a "positive and statistically significant" effect on students' "achievement outcomes," while others show that the heavy emphasis on homework "harms students' health and family time." Other research suggests worse: that assigning "inappropriate homework" — like busy work or work that's excessively difficult — could actually hurt academic success.
Either way, Gallagher reported the note was good news for her daughter, writing, "Brooke is loving her new teacher already!"