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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 21, 2010


Rose Garrett, Change - Most adults remember recess as an essential part, if not the highlight, of each school day. But recess has become an increasingly endangered element of a child's time at school. As federal standards force kids to stuff more studying into each day, school administrators say there just isn't time to "play around." What they aren't saying is that eliminating recess may be the worst thing schools can do for a child's education.

In 2006, The National Parent Teacher Association reported that nearly 40 percent of American elementary schools have eliminated or are considering eliminating recess. Reasons range from budgetary and staffing problems to the crushing requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, which set unprecedented standards for student achievement and requires drilling for test prep that cuts into the time previously spent doing art and science, as well as breaking for recess.

One Pennsylvania school eliminated recess for no better reason than that it had become a logistical challenge after the school grew to 1,100 fourth- through sixth-graders. . .

A growing body of research supports the idea that physical exercise is essential for learning. For one thing, recess provides the opportunity for peer interaction, which can increase social skills and creative problem-solving. Recess also provides a much-needed break from focused academic activity, which can improve attention and retention of information, especially for kids pegged with attention problems for fidgeting and disruptive behavior in class (can you really blame them?).

A study published in January by the journal Pediatrics indicated that, among 8- to 9-year-old children, having one or more daily recess periods of at least 15 minutes in length was associated with better teacher rating of class behavior scores, and concluded that recess should be part of the school day. . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something's wrong here.
My so works with "learning disabled" students in a consolidated district in New England. There is more foolishness and less studying every year.
The teachers most loved by the principal are the wack jobs: building boats, singing and dancing, raising turtles, other clowning and playing as schoolwork; and no, those are not brief breaks--it's all day long.
Students are not accountable for their performance, and teachers are not accountable for the ignorance of their charges.
Public education is a sick, sad system, with the inmates running the asylum, and our children the losers. For one with way too much of an insider's view, it is tragic.
This author--Garret--is an egregious liar. -wam

January 23, 2010 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The indoctrination factories are breaking down, and no surprise. The Prussian model of mass education for a compliant worker/soldier state was a 19thC dream that never really paid off, just as central social and economic planning has continually failed to compete successfully against laissez-faire capitalism. People are not machines.

January 23, 2010 12:49 PM  

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