Friday, February 7, 2014

Shrinking Recess, Thinning PE

Sometimes all the news that’s fit to air can give one a rude shock. News on PBS (I think) the other day informed us that Recess is shrinking in elementary schools and so is physical education (PE); in many districts PE has been eliminated outright. Here is a link to a presentation by the Center of Public Education (CPE) on this subject. Why is this happening? Well, more time is needed for English/Language Arts and Math (presumably to meet testing requirements) and the time must come from the presumably useless categories—or the expensive ones. PE is expensive and, in these days of seemingly skyrocketing bullying, Recess must be supervised. What shrinks or thins will disappear.

Per CPE’s article, in the 2001-2008 period 20 percent of school districts (translates into 1 in 5) have reduces recess; 9 percent of districts have reduced PE.

Madness—in the form epidemics of experimentation—has long plagued education. Is this another enzyme on the loose? Or does this one come from “government’s too big, so let’s cut out the basics.”

So what is growing? Childhood obesity.

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