Marion County created a buzz last month when Superintendent Heidi Maier announced that there would be no homework for elementary-school aged children in Marion County. Maier said children should instead read or be read to for 30 minutes each night.
One person who was impressed with the decision was School Board of Manatee County Chairman Charlie Kennedy, who took to Twitter urging Manatee County Superintendent Diana Greene to follow suit.
“A great idea whose time has come — parents reading to kids is much more useful than homework — what do you think @DrDianaGreene ?” Kennedy tweeted on July 14.
On Tuesday, Greene said she would not be issuing a similar edict and that homework should be up to a teacher’s discretion.
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“The teacher is the best professional to make the decision as to whether they are going to give homework or not give homework, and it shouldn’t be a directive from me to say, ‘No homework,’” Greene said. “We legislate a lot from the dais and from Tallahassee, and we hired them to make those decisions, and I feel as superintendent I should support them.”
She said principals should have conversations with their teachers about the appropriate amount of homework to give each year. Greene said when she was a third-grade teacher, she had her students do their multiplication tables each night as a way to practice their math skills.
The board was unanimous in their support for Greene’s decision.
“We are holding our teachers accountable for the learning in their classroom, and if we begin to eliminate tools in their tool chests, it’s very difficult to hold them accountable,” board member Scott Hopes said.
“I heartily concur about teacher discretion, said board member Dave Miner. “They know the kids better than we here, what they need and how it might help them.”
Maier’s decision was applauded by advocates who saw the decree as a stand against a high-pressure atmosphere in public schools that robs children of the joy of learning. National media outlets, including The Washington Post, picked up the story.
Kennedy said he supported Greene’s decision and that he had not expected his tweet to pick up as much traction as it had.