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Bill proposals making two recesses mandatory for schools

Posted at 6:07 PM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 20:07:00-05

A bill approved by the state senate would guarantee kindergarten through fifth-grade students receive at least two recess breaks per school day. 
"It's not a full restoration of what's been lost, however it's a starting point," said Christine Davis, founder of the Arizonans for Recess coalition. Davis said, according to their research, most young students in the state receive one break for every six to seven hours of class. 
"Recess not only boosts learning but it also improves classroom behavior, it improves attention -- of course it improves health," Davis said. "It's where, I think, so many soft skills that employers today want are learned -- in terms of problem solving, community building, conflict resolution, figuring out when to involve an adult."
A bill that would've set a 50-minute minimum for recess failed to pass last year. This proposal -- SB 1083 -- doesn't include any particular time requirement. 
Still, Dr. Paul Tighe, Superintendent of the Saddle Mountain School District and Arizona School Administrators board members, told ABC15 he and many of his colleagues feel it's an issue best left for local school boards to decide. 
The Arizona School Boards Association provided this statement to ABC15:
"The Arizona School Boards Association respects parental concern over the lack of recess in schools today, and encourages all school district governing boards to implement wellness policies for their students, including recess, that are consistent with the wishes of the voters who elect them which is a local control issue. We understand this initiative is being pushed by a few active and vocal parents that have been unsuccessful with implementing this change in their own school districts. Unfortunately, this is not a state-wide effort being pushed by all 223 school district communities. It is up to each community to vocalize their specific needs to their school board, thus a local control initiative. Our question to lawmakers isn’t if recess is good or bad, it is whether we need “another” mandated law. While mandating recess may solve one issue, it leaves in place many others. ASBA would welcome equally passionate support from parents in changing the flawed educational policies that brought us to this point."