Teachers doing away with traditional homework at Manhattan school

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Sunday, March 8, 2015
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Renee Stoll has the story from Kips Bay.

KIPS BAY -- It's the first thing a parent asks when their child gets home from school - 'do you have any homework?'

Now, parents at one New York elementary school will no longer need to ask that question.

Teachers are doing away with traditional homework, and creating new homework options such as reading and having family time.

"I think that's a great idea - I do," says parent Moe Toval.

Principal Jane Hsu, of PS 116 Elementary, said in a statement, "We are creating opportunities for students and their families to engage in activities that research has proven to benefit academics and social-emotional success."

"It is frustrating on the kids to come here for 8 hours and then come home and do homework for 3," Toval adds.

Some parents tell Eyewitness News that it won't make a difference in their household, because they do learning activities regardless of homework.

"For a house that's not as structured, maybe it would be better if they got some work - some parents don't know what to give their children at home - some parents aren't educated themselves," says parent Allison Lonnies.

However, some parents think homework is a necessary evil.

"You have to do homework in order to gain, you have to do homework because they may not be able to comprehend everything in school," says Sharon Blake, whose granddaughter attends PS 116.

Even some of the students worry if they will learn just as much without homework. When asked if he would learn the same amount, PS 116 third grader Warren Doyle said he didn't think so.

The school district is on board with the idea, saying the teachers and principals know what's best, however rigorous teaching in the classroom will be critical. The question is, whether the kids will really be reading and spending family time.

"He (my son) likes to play video games, but I try to get him out of it and be more active outside," Moe Toval adds.

That is the hope of the principal, but it will take time to tell if the new policy works.