The Fight For Recess in Chicago Schools

Parents groups and teachers say they found a way to bring back recess in schools that don't have it

Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011  |  Updated 11:35 AM CDT
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The Fight For Recess in Chicago Schools

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Moving teachers' lunches from the end of the day to the middle could give kids more time to eat and play, recess proponents say.

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Should recess return to Chicago grammar schools at the cost of extending the school day by 45 minutes?

Some parents and teachers say yes, and Chicago-based group Raise Your Hand wants to explain why at a public meeting Wednesday night. The group contends that two-thirds of schools without recess can find time to restore it by moving teachers’ lunches from the end to the middle of the day.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told the Sun-Times she likes the idea of teachers considering a lunch move, saying the switch to a 45-minute recess and lunch period for students benefits both kids and teachers.

Lewis acknowledged that research shows exercise helps kids learn better, but she warns that some schools might not be able to accommodate a place for kids to play.

Chicago Public Schools' latest efforts have helped add 10-minute recesses to schools, but parents say that's not enough.

An Illinois legislative task force has plans to discuss a statewide implementation of recess, and even First Lady Michelle Obama has gotten behind recess as part of her Get Moving! program.

Raise Your Hand Coalition says the lunch switch is appealing because it won't cost much money to make it happen. For more information, the coalition's public meeting begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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