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NYC Parents, Students Weigh In On Whether They Support No-Homework Trend

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Now that a number of New York City elementary school students no longer have homework, how do their parents feel about all their free time?

As CBS2's Elise Finch reports, at P.S. 11 in Chelsea, students in kindergarten through fourth grade don't get homework at the end of the day – at least not the kind most adults remember doing, like worksheets and book reports. Those tasks are a thing of the past.

"I love it," one mother said.

"My daughter does ballet, my son takes guitar," another woman added.

"We have family time and we get to do other things," one said.

At P.S. 116 on Manhattan's East Side, Principal Jane Hsu and her staff also did away with traditional homework assignments two years ago. Her team researched the pros and cons of homework for elementary school children and found that four other things have a far bigger impact.

"Playtime, downtime, family time and reading," she explained.

Hsu said students choose to do things like cook with a parent or sibling, read about something that interests them, play with friends or just relax.

"Students absolutely love the creativity that they are given and the ownership over deciding what they're going to do after school," she said.

The students that Finch spoke with said they love not having traditional homework every single night.

"You can do more free stuff," one girl said.

"Go on the iPad, have playdates," a boy added.

"I would normally spend time with my family or spend time with my friends," another girl said.

Their parents, however, aren't convinced this is the best thing for their children.

"It's a way to check in and be connected to your kids and what they're doing," one father said.

New York City schools are not required to assign homework of any kind, but NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina says homework comes in many forms.

"Having a very strong dinner time conversation where there's a specific question that goes home every day to discuss with your family, to come back prepared to discuss it in school the next day is just as important as doing two pages of worksheets that ultimately don't even get marked," she said.

Administrators at each school are free to set their own policies when it comes to homework. Parents are free to assign their children homework if the "no homework" plan doesn't work for them.

At P.S. 116, where students have been homework-free for two years, teachers report no change in students' academic performance -- positive or negative.

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