Portland Elementary School Adopts No Homework Policy

School adopts no-homework policy

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Talk about a kid's dream come true. Cherry Park Elementary in the David Douglas School District is deciding to try out a no homework policy.

“I'm thrilled. My family's thrilled. We all cheered when we heard the news,” said parent Kathy Shean-Jones.

“The research was really pointing to that homework does not improve achievement levels for elementary students,” said Cherry Park Elementary Principal Kate Barker.

So this year, Barker and other school leaders decided to do something different. They first took into account their diverse student population. About 75 percent of kids at the school live below the poverty line.

“We have many of our families that are homeless and so may not even have a flat surface to work,” said Barker.

The idea is to give all the kids an equal shot and more time with family.

“Instead of stressing over a math packet or a reading log, they can simply just enjoy being with their children,” Barker said.

As you can imagine, the kids are big fans. Many kids in a third grade class talked about spending more time with family.

“I like to play with my family and have like a fun time with my little sister,” said Daunte Hurtado.

“I like to take my dog out and take him to the park,” added Melody Guzman.

“Spending more time with family,” said Sheller Jenkins.

“I'd go swimming with my dad,” Nathan Nguyen said.

“I just like doing other things instead of doing so much work and being stressed,” said Megan Jones.

Parents agreed.

“I find that instead of having to say what are you doing for homework, sit down, let's get to this, it’s time to talk, time to interact so it feels really freeing for our family,” said Shean-Jones.

She said when her child would come home with reading logs, it was stressful getting it all filled out.

“To have that freedom to sit down and enjoy and talk about the book, but not worry about what time it is or how long or how much and it sort of opens it up,” she said.

Even though it's just the beginning of the year, Shean-Jones already hopes other schools follow suit.

Cherry Park Elementary isn't the only school making changes. Alameda Elementary in the Portland School District has decided that homework like packets or worksheets will be optional.

School officials at Cherry Park said if parents want their child to have homework, they can request it. At the end of the year, they will evaluate whether or not to continue their no homework policy. 


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