Friday, December 10, 2010

A Controversial Topic...

This is a long story.  Are you ready?

8 years ago at Josh's school, their test grades were crap.  In the last 8 years, the principal has kicked it into gear and done some awesome stuff.  First of all: Hire some awesome teachers.  Next: Eliminate things that cause behavior problems.  The most behavior problems were at recess.  So she eliminated some of the recess.  The kids still get recess, just not every single day.  Then she added all of these awesome after school programs that 80% of the kids attend every single day.  Their test scores now are through the roof and they are getting a lot of attention for it.  i.e. being featured on the TODAY SHOW!

Recently, four parents have teamed together and decided that it is an outrage that their 11 year-olds don't get recess every single day.  Their argument is that kids need unstructured play time.  Who disagrees with that?  No one.  Those four parents came to Josh's principal and asked if their child's schedule could be changed midyear so that they would get recess every day.  The principal obviously said no.

So those four parents went to the board of education.  They scheduled a meeting to meet with the executives of the board of ed.  In the meantime, they put up petitions around the city titled "Would You Want YOUR Child to Have Recess?" with no more explanation.  They posted them around in grocery stores, the mall, and other places in the community.  They got a ton of signatures.  80% of the signatures were from people who do not have children in their school and about 10% were from the students of the school!  They took this petition to the board and the board is voting on it soon.

Josh's principal basically told them that because of those FOUR parents, they would most likely have to add in more recess time to their schedule.  And the only time that they could schedule it was... during specials.  So starting soon (probably January), instead of teaching music to certain classes, he will be taking them outside for recess duty.  He is trying to see what he can do to convince the board that although recess and play time IS important for a child's development, so are the arts.  Not to mention that he did not go to college to be a babysitter!

Meanwhile, those parents haven't thanked the principal or arts teachers for the amazing things they are doing with their children or the great accomplishments the school is making.  When the principal asked those parents why their kids can't play at home, they didn't have much of an answer.

What is your opinion?  Should the board change the schedule midyear and force the arts teachers to do recess duty?  Or keep the schedule the way it is?


  1. No, they shouldn't change the schedule mid year. They just need to wait to work it out for the schedules. In Virginia we have lunch aides, so since teachers don't have lunch duty, they take recess duty. My mom on the other hand has to alternate with her teaching partner; one will have lunch duty and the other recess duty.
    Also in Virginia, it is mandated that children get 30 minutes of outside recess a day PLUS 15 minutes of unstructured physical activity or some junk like that... so the teacher usually takes them out to walk or something. Bunch of crap, but that's up to the teacher to work it into their schedule.

  2. The school I taught at last year (Northern Reserve), we eliminated recess because kids weren't coming back in on time. They were effectively losing up to an HOUR of valuable morning work. They noticed at first, but quickly got used to it and their behavior and grades improved, just not drastically.