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Florida Schools Cut Recess; Parents Fight Back

The Short of It

At a recent Orange County School Board meeting in Florida, parents requested that recess time be enforced in all local schools for all students. Recently, 23 elementary schools have been cutting back recess time or canceling it altogether to maximize class time.

The Lowdown

One mom, Angela Browning, said that schools are fluctuating between 0 to 30 minutes of recess per day. Parents are upset because they feel that all children need time to stretch, destress, socialize and just be kids.

The issue in Florida, as it is in many states, is Common Core, the mandatory standardized test in math, language arts and literacy. Students' performance dictates teachers' pay and job security, so many teachers are using the extra 20 minutes that would've been spent at recess to teach the test to keep their jobs. The pressure is high on teachers to get the higher scores, so they cram in as much learning as they can into the school day. Who can blame them?

The Upshot

Ultimately, the decision of whether students have recess and for how long is up to each school's principal. Florida law requires that districts provide 900 instructional hours during each school year. It doesn't require that recess be a part of that day.

I know that my girls learn better when they take breaks, get some fresh air and are able to mentally reboot, so do I. I hope schools keep recess as a priority because in life having functional social skills is just as important as having straight A's.

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