Pilot: More recess time in schools


1 in 10 school children will be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and at any given time, 1 in 20 will be on medication to manage it. ADHD was very rare when children had adequate recess time.

2 thoughts on “Pilot: More recess time in schools

  1. When I was in school we had a 30 minute recess mid morning, an hour at lunch time(including lunch) and another 15 minute break mid afternoon. Yes, we had to drive the velociraptors off the playground before choosing sides for a game but we didn’t have ADHD.

    But then came desegregation and some parents didn’t want their white children playing with colored kids and recess started getting eliminated. That was fine with teachers, because it shortened the work day and they didn’t get stuck with a rotation at ‘playground duty.’

    But children, particularly little boys, can only sit inactive a short time before they need to get up and run around and burn off some energy. We traded that regular physical activity for drugging them into a stupor.

    They’re children. They need to play. Put recess breaks back into the day and ADHD will largely disappear and learning will increase.


  2. Reading this brief Pilot item I am struck by the number and variety of stakeholders involved in the issue at hand, by the range of opinion and perspective the writer must report just to capture the essence of the story.

    My takeaway: The difficulty of one-size-fits-all decision making expands exponentially in proportion to the number of members in the “all” set.

    Put another way, the presumably simple question of recess time in the state’s elementary schools appears to tax the efficiency and effectiveness of our central planning system.

    Ideally, a single school under competent management could decide the issue for its own student body, then optimize the policy over time in response to its own experience. Perhaps we could simplify the central planner’s role by limiting it to selecting competent managers for our schools, eliminating one-size-fits-all decision making completely.

    There are other possibilities to explore, both complex and subtle. Also, we have more than 2,000 years of experience from which to draw inspiration. I suspect, however, that the natural solution will prevail in the end: eliminate government from education.


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