by David Safier
One of our readers, Steve Gall, a retired teacher, was up in Phoenix arguing in front of the Senate K-12 Committee that recess should be required in all elementary schools. (Steve is quoted in the article.)
Steve posted a comment about his experience at the end of my latest diatribe about after school sports:
I was up in Phoenix yesterday morning testifying before the Senate Education Committee to mandate a 30 minute recess period in the elementary schools. It was a humbling experience. The Committee voted 5-2 in favor of the bill! At least, it’s a start to implementing physical education. Now, the bill will go to the full senate. We need to lobby our senators to pass this important bill. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. Steve
So, are there any suggestions? If you read the article, you’ll see some people object to the bill because it is another unfunded mandate for the schools. They say a half hour will have to be added to the school day, which will cost money the schools don’t have.
My opinion is, we need recess and physical education in our schools. It’s both anti-child and counterproductive to chain elementary students to their desks all day without giving them a chance to run around, shout and laugh out loud. I was a well-behaved, academically inclined child, but I remember looking forward to recess, and I think I came back to the classroom better able to think and learn because I had time to move my body and clear my head. That goes double for more active children.
I also believe that a half hour out of class is not a half hour lost to academic education. Education isn’t merely a function of time. If you can get students to give their whole attentions to what’s going on in class for a half hour, that’s worth far more than an hour where the students are daydreaming.
Where do you think about this issue? Should schools be forced to provide a half hour of recess? If so, is there a way to convince our Senators to vote for the bill?