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LI School District Considers No-Homework Policy For Elementary School Kids

MEDFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Suffolk County school district is considering limiting or even eliminating homework for elementary school students.

The Patchogue-Medford School District has set up an online survey for parents asking them what they think.

"Schools over the past 20, 25 years have this love affair with testing and this love affair with burdening students with unnecessary things to do," Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes said. "I said to the board why don't we inquire to our school community, we are starting with our parents, about their thoughts about homework."

Proponents say getting rid of the homework would take away some of the stress put on the children, but others feel homework is a fundamental part of school.

With a no-homework policy, Hynes said kindergarten through sixth grade students would instead read when they get home, spend time with family and play outside.

"I'm not saying they should go on the screen and spend time on their phones or computers, I'm talking about getting outside, playing with their friends and have child-centered direction as far as what they want to do physically," Hynes said. "That is just as important if not more important than academic work."

Hynes said the school district believes "in physical growth, emotional growth, social growth and academic growth."

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, the conversation has divided households.

"I think they need it. They come home, that's how they learn. The teacher will send them with ABCs and parents are obligated to follow through with it," Shirley Johnson said.

Patchogue-Medford would be the first district in the area to modify, scale back, limit or do away with homework for elementary school kids.

The parents surveyed have also weighed in on social media.

"Possibly no homework? The softening of America," one parent said.

"Admirable. Our young kids are overwhelmed," another added.

A district in Vermont said its plan worked. Kindergarten through sixth grade students were required to read, have family dinners, and play outside. They were not assigned homework.

"Physical growth, emotional growth, social growth, those particularly have been wiped away from the American school system," Hynes said.

The district says it will analyze the results of the survey and present their findings to the school board in the next few months.

If parents approve a version of the 'no homework plan' a pilot program could begin in late spring.

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