Are We Nearing the Final Bell?

May 18, 2006

I gotta tell ya, I was more than a little upset when I read an article about how some schools are leaving recess behind!

The proportion of schools that don’t have recess ranges from 7 percent for first and second grades to 13 percent by sixth grade, new government figures show.

The reason it’s being threatened?

Larson and other parents in her district want elementary schools to offer separate recess periods each day, but students often get only their lunch periods to let loose. The recess drop-off is most noticeable in third grade, she said, when preparation for testing kicks in.

Where recess is in decline, school leaders usually blame academic pressures. Under federal law, schools must test and show progress in reading and math starting in third grade.

But how schools manage their time is a local decision. Recess competes with many other activities for schedule time, from music and arts to gym classes and computer classes.

So, according to this article, it is the pressure the school districts are under regarding the results of the standardized tests…and we all know how well “no child left behind” is doing.

The article does point out that the overwhelming majority of schools still offer recess, but apparently it is being threatened SO much, that the National PTA, along with the Cartoon Network have gotten involved with their Rescuing Recess Campaign.

In an informal survey by the National PTA of its state leaders, more than half said daily recess is at risk. Only 9 percent were confident recess would not be reduced in their school.

The Cartoon Network has pledged more than $1.3 million to save recess. That includes more than $300,000 in grants to PTA chapters for participating in the ongoing letter campaign.

What a confusing message! First we are told that we are raising a generation of obese children and being told by people like Dr. Lisa Hark, that we’re killing our kids and now their only time of real physical activity and chance of blowing off steam and decompressing is at risk!

How do YOU feel about it?