For more than a year, whenever a “recess mom” has come to the Florida Capitol and pleaded with lawmakers, they have told stories of their child’s lack of access to daily recess — offering anecdotes from their child’s school or school district to showcase the inequities of unstructured playtime offered in Florida’s public schools.
Informal surveys of parents in some counties, like Pinellas or Miami-Dade, have seemed to support their assertions.
But if lawmakers need official, solid evidence of the disparities in school recess, they need look no further than the findings of their own research analysts.
The Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA) last fall surveyed all 67 county school districts about their recess policies and also sought responses from 2,900 public elementary and middle schools.
The results revealed broad inconsistencies in whether school districts and specific schools actually offer daily recess, and if they do, how frequently and for how long.
The data — presented to some senators last week — comes as the Senate Education Committee is poised to vote Tuesday on legislation that would require 20 minutes of daily recess in all Florida public elementary schools, or 100 minutes a week.
Photo credit: Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald