Lawmaker wants to mandate recess in Georgia schools - CBS46 News

Lawmaker wants to mandate recess in Georgia schools

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

There is a new push across Georgia for the re-implementation of recess. After years of its disappearance to make way for more book learning and test prep, parents and schools believe the change may have caused more problems.

Schools used to require it but this is why it went away.

"They felt that children needed to focus more on the academics and not recess,” said Dr. Renee Garriss, who is the principal at Mountain View Elementary School in Cobb County. 

Districts started focusing more on reading, math and science, subjects that kids are tested on to help determine how well a school is performing.

Recess is optional in Georgia schools and it's up to superintendents and principals to schedule it. 

Georgia Representative Demetrius Douglas wants it codified in law. He is recommending a policy that would require a 30 minute daily recess for students in all Georgia elementary schools.

And teachers would not be allowed to take it away as punishment.

That’s in addition to PE classes like the ones Carissa Smith teaches at Mountain View Elementary School.

"They get two 40 minute classes of physical education so that recess is that extra component. And you see when they have that recess they perform better academically, and in the classroom, and their behavior is better."

The challenge for principals like Dr Garriss is squeezing in that free, unstructured playtime into a state-mandated curriculum. It gives specific time needed to dedicate to other subjects.

"I think as long as there is some flexibility in it. So if it were a mandate of 30 minutes maybe we could break it up into a 20 minute and 10 minute sessions or 15 minute sessions.”

Georgia’s PE requirements do not meet those set by the Society of Health and Physical Educators, or SHAPE America, which releases annual report cards rating the health of the nation’s students.

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