Kansas schools allegedly shortchange kids on recess

Dive Brief:

  • A majority of schools in Kansas schedule less than 20 minutes of recess a day, according to a new report from the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
  • Only 41% of schools forbid keeping students back from recess as a punishment.
  • The report is based on survey responses from almost 490 Kansas physical education teachers, taken last fall.

Dive Insight:

In an attempt to focus on instructional time, many schools have cut back on time for recess, physical education, and even lunch. A study released in 2013 found that 44% of schools across the country had cut back on recess and P.E., in order to focus on tested subjects. In Seattle, students and parents protested last year after they found out students often get only 20 minutes or less to eat lunch. An investigation from KUOW also found cuts to recess at many Seattle schools.

In addition to physical health, recess and physical education have been tied to better academic performance and higher test scores. Getting time to be active and play allows students to focus longer and can help improve behavior. The government recommends students get an hour or more of moderate physical activity a day, but most students don’t reach that. In Kansas, the authors of the recent study recommended banning the practice of withholding recess as punishment and allowing students enough breaks to “mentally decompress.”

“We would certainly hope that parents would lobby their individual school districts because their kids need this physical activity,” Vicki Worrell, executive director of the Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, told the Associated Press.

Filed Under: K12 Policy & Regulation