The Argument Against Recess

Even with plenty of research proving the benefits of recess breaks in children, school officials continue to shorten recess as I showed in my previous post.  What reasons do they offer? Here I will give some of the factors that contribute to the decision to shorten recess or eliminate it altogether in some cases.

Academic Reasons:

  • Eliminating or shortening recess can provide additional time that teachers can use to improve students’ academic performance.
  • Tony Harduar, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals says, “Principals are in a tough situation.  These administrators know that kids need exercise, but they also feel the sting of legislation aimed at improving test scores and bolstering basic skills.  A principals job can depend on the decision he or she makes.”

Liability Reasons:

  • Outdoor play can lead to injuries in children which may result in a lawsuit.

Safety Reasons:

  • School officials are concerned about strangers’ access to children on school grounds and the shortage of teachers and volunteers to supervise.
  • Administrators are more aware of bullying that takes place on the playground during unsupervised activities.
  • Alejandro Echevarria, Principal of Broadway Elementary School in Newark, N.J., says “I was seeing nosebleeds, busted lips, and students being a danger to themselves and other [during recess].”

I’m not saying that these reasons are not valid, but there are compromises that can be made and solutions available so that recess stays a part of every child’s school day.  Currently, it is up to individual schools and sometimes teachers to determine whether children receive recess or not.  Cutting recess is also used as a typical form of punishment for kids who act out in class, who I believe are the ones who need it the most.  It should not be up to individual opinions about recess, but mandatory in all elementary schools nationwide.  Secretary of Eduation Arne Duncan, please pass a law mandating 45 minutes of recess time in all kindergarten through sixth grade elementary schools.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Argument Against Recess

  1. I like how you presented the other side of the argument, analyzed it, and used this post to acknowledge that it simply isn’t the right course of action for young students.

  2. I totally agree with your blog and with everything you are fighting against. I loved recess growing up and as soon as I got into middle school it seemed like a lot of things changed with kids once they didn’t have a recess to get rid of extra energy, frustration or even just to be able to play a sport. I believe recess is a vital part of every kid’s development and is much needed. Scraping your knee is a part of growing up, it happens! All of these people who are arguing against recess because it’s not safe are just rediculous. Just like everyone needs a balanced diet, everyone needs a balanced life. Studying and school as well as socializing and excercise are all needed to create a balanced life for young students. I commend you

  3. I admire the way you fought against no recess at school. Children in both elementary and middle schools need outside time to release pent up stress.

  4. Thanks for providing information on both sides of the debate. This really puts things into perspective. Great read!

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