Essay 4 Final Draft
10 December 2007
Bring Back Recess
An alarming trend has been sweeping across America’s elementary schools, angering both students and parents alike. The source of this crisis is the decision of school districts to permanently ban recess from their schools. Over forty percent of school districts in the United States have either banned recess completely or are considering doing so in the near future. Other school districts have decided to allot less time to recess during the school day or have banned certain activities from taking place. Parents, teachers, and child experts argue that not only are these bans unnecessary, but that removing recess from schools could cause potential harm to a child’s health and development.
Many of the school districts who have made cutbacks on recess claim stricter testing and curriculum guidelines are to blame. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, federal laws require schools to have all students meet grade level requirements when testing in science, language arts, and math by the year 2014 (Nussbaum). Schools are also being required to add more subjects to their already full curriculums. Schools are struggling to meet these goals or they risk losing federal funding. Creighton Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona has eliminated its morning and afternoon recess, allowing the only time for free play to occur during a short lunch period (Chaker). According to Creighton’s principal, Rosemary Agneessens, “We only have students between six and seven hours a day. In terms of the short amount of time and what we’re being told we have to cover, something has to give, and it can’t be reading” (Chaker). As schools struggle to meet testing goals and search for more time to teach the basics, recess is often seen as an easy target for cutbacks.
Other schools see recess as an opportunity for injuries and bullying. Accidents occurring on the playground are the number one cause...