Marion County School Board to clarify 'no homework' policy, add resources for parents

Report: Survey shows 86% of teachers didn't like policy

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – One year after the Marion County Public Schools superintendent issued a mandate to teachers notifying them that they should not assign daily homework, the school board will now clarify that mandate after teachers said they were worried about getting punished for not following the protocol. 

Superintendent Heidi Maier issued the 'no homework' mandate last summer to teachers at the district's 31 elementary schools. Her decision was based on research that shows students perform better when given a break from the rigors of a typical school day.

The study, conducted by Richard Allington, a University of Tennessee professor of theory and practice in teacher education, found that reading to a child has more positive effects than homework.
 Instead of homework, parents were asked to read with their children for 20 minutes every night, school officials said.

A year after the mandate was given, however, teachers reported feeling "micromanaged," the Ocala Star Banner reports.

The president of the local teacher’s union conducted a survey that showed 86 percent of the 400 teachers who responded didn’t like the “no homework” policy, according to the Banner.

Maier told the Banner said she didn't do a good enough job explaining the intent of the mandate to the board and teachers. 

Marion County School Board members said during a session last week that they want a school board policy on  homework, "which will take several weeks to write, submit, recommend and pass in a regularly scheduled school board meeting," MCPS spokesman Kevin Christian said.

To offer more resources to parents, the district will launch a new website Aug. 1 called Community Reads that will list grade-specific books and other resources for families.