House Bill 3770 will require 20 minutes of unstructured RECESS for ALL children in Texas.
How incredible that as we fight for recess in Houston, there are other parents across our state fighting the same fight. An awesome mom in Mesquite is just one of those, and it’s because of her efforts that there is now a bill in the House that needs your help. It is called House Bill 3770 you can read more about her efforts here. Thank you state representative, Cindy Burkett for seeing the importance of free unstructured play during the school day and valuing our children and the WHOLE child which our education system is to serve.
And you can sign the petition to the State and House Reps here.
Please pass the word – send emails, ask for friends and neighbors to call their legislators, it is that important, and if you wonder why it is so important, why I have launched myself into an uncomfortable yet necessary position this past school year, look no further than a note I received from my 8 year old 3rd grader.
“Dear Mommy, I cant take it anymore, please help me I am so sad at school, I cant do anything, I am so stupid, I always fail, I hate this mommy please help me, I am scared I won’t pass tax test, I hate this, please is there a school with no stress, please mommy.”(tax test – is actually TAKS test – the texas standardized test – but how appropriate of a mispelling on her behalf)
What is this system doing to our children. A wonderful retired teacher who read this, said she had never seen such a plea from a young child. I understand that this 8 year old is not ALL 8 year olds, but how sad a day is it in the state of an education system that this is how a child feels about school. As an 8 year old, I remember running on the playground, studying for spelling tests and practicing my multiplication facts, I do not remember a year spent preparing for a single test to determine if I learned enough to be promoted to the next grade. There were tests, lots of tests – tests on the state history, tests on grammar rules, tests on science experiments, there were weekly tests, and there were those bigger unit tests, but I never spent an entire school year being pressured into passing ONE single test like my daughter.
What does this have to do with RECESS, well RECESS is a great big part of a child’s school day, as noted by conversations shared with me by dozens of parents. Like, “You know how your childs day was at school because of how they talked about recess” or “Recess is so important to my child’s success that when I ask how was their day its the first thing they talk about”, and “Recess is where my son lets go of his stress so that he isnt miserable the rest of the day”. Recess has always had its place in the school day but as the pressure for schools to perform has shot of the logical and reasonable charts, principals and administrators in an effort to maximize every minute of the school day, reduce or eliminate all free unstructured time from our children’s day. What ever happened to the old adage that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy”? The research is endless on the positive effects this time has in the life and academic success of our children. My 8 year old was being removed from her non academic classes and recess without my knowledge because her school administrator felt she was at risk for failing the TAKS test.. WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE, she suffered weeks of stress induced TORTUROUS test prep – and I wondered why her personality had shifted and she was withdrawn at home, we wondered why she fought against homework and was more agitated. As we questioned her over time she finally told us what her school was doing and how her schedule had changed. This is just another example of how the school is not putting the child first, but the TEST first. The school had NO remorse over removing my child and blatantly said, they did not need parent permission to remove a child from class. But if there were a law in place to guarantee my child gets that 20 minutes of MUCH NEEDED RECESS, they could not remove her from the playground without my consent. As I speak with other parents they too agree that the administration is further removing themselves from serving the overall needs of our children – THE WHOLE CHILD – but simply looking at our children as a way to achieve STATUS.. One parent put it this way, “If this many # of children pass the TAKS test, then our school will be EXEMPLARY”.. but to a parent what makes a school exemplary – is one who nurtures the whole child, one who values the whole experience school provides, both in the classroom and on the playground, in the art class and on the gymnasium floor….
Please support the passage of House Bill 3770 by signing the petition, calling your state representatives, and forwarding this information to anyone you know in Texas. Several states have already passed similar legislation this session, and we hope those elected in Texas follow suite and stand up for the children in Texas.
Sign the petition here.