Florida Senate denies parent request for required recess

Public elementary school parents in Florida wanted a guarantee that their children would get recess every day. known as the “recess moms,” these parents asked Florida legislature for daily recess, but the answer was no — the Senate wouldn’t even consider it.

Recess for young children is a must – it’s clear so many children have difficulties sitting still for extended periods of time. There is even proof that students do better academically when they have time to be active.

For example, a recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health says that recess is an important part of the day for children. It’s a needed break from the rigors and academic challenges in the classroom, and the time offers social, emotional, and physical benefits.

However, during this era of school reform based on accountability, in a time where standardized tests are supreme, the precious time for recess has become expendable in many places — even considered a waste of time that could be spent on academics, and in some cases, getting young children more prepared for tests.

One of the parents involved in the plea for recess, Elizabeth Flora Ross, said that 32 senators had privately committed to supporting the bill, but when the time came, just 14 voted to waive the rules and take it up on the Senate floor.

Ross wrote an open letter to the Florida Senate, sharing her frustrations in that letter, which appeared on her blog. In the letter, she explained that the Florida State Senate has failed not only her child but also more than one million who attend Florida’s public elementary schools. She continued on to say that the Senate did what was comfortable, not what was right, and that she and the other parents in the state will remember that when the time comes to vote.

I applaud the efforts of these recess vigilantes and feel that the Florida Senate should have at least allowed the request to be officially heard. Parents, after all, are the ones who know their children’s development best. What do you think the answer is to the lack of recess in schools?

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