School: You want recess?
Students: Yes, please.
I can't be certain it went like that except in my head, but it seems plausible.
Do you want to know why they are eliminating recess? Of course you do. A student's mother tells us what the principal said.
“I questioned why they don't have it and she said unfortunately it's a regional decision because the testing scores are not as high as they would like them to be,” Spivey said. “They feel the kids need to concentrate more on their school.”
The school's principal and officials with the Houston Independent School District declined to comment.
That's right! Because test scores are low, kids don't get to play. WTF is going on? Elementary school kids need to concentrate more on school??? One sure fire way to eliminate obesity in kids is to keep them inside all day studying. That's science!
Here's what I think the conversation between Principal Sourpuss and Little Jimmy Sadsack was like.
Principal Sourpuss: Hello, Little Jimmy.
Little Jimmy Sadsack: Hello, Principal Sourpuss.
PS: Listen, Jimmy, we believe in accountability here at No Fun Elementary. Our numbers are clear. Your recess is cutting into our bottom line and we have to make a change.
LJS: Are we having sloppy joe's for lunch today?
PS: Uh, no…anyway, you see, Jimmy, this lack of concentration is vexing to us.
LJS: What is “vexing?”
PS: Well, it means bad.
LJS: Oh, am I in trouble?
PS: No, of course not, but we do need a new paradigm of learning here, Jimmy. You can understand that, can't you?
LJS: Um, what?
PS: Jimmy, it's like this. The state and federal government, as part of a mandate to improve education in our country, require you to take tests.
LJS: I don't like tests.
PS: Even so, you aren't the only one graded on these tests. Your teachers and even Principal Sourpuss are graded on how well you do and, well, you see, you kids suck right now at taking tests.
LJS: Ummmm, you said suck!
PS: Right, anyway, we've already dropped art and music from the cirriculum.
LJS: I liked playing cello. Mr. Smartypants called me a “prah-deh-gee.” What's that word?
PS: It's a word that means Mr. Smartypants had to be fired. It's a bad word, Jimmy. We prefer words like productivity and busywork and additional funding. Those are good words.
LJS: Do they mean I get to play cello again?
PS: No, Jimmy. Stay on point here with me, bud. If you kids don't do well on your tests, we big people get in trouble and you don't want that, do you Jimmy?
LJS: I guess not.
PS: Good boy. Since we can't cut social studies (under breath: lousy liberals) or PE, we are eliminating recess.
LJS: WHAT??? WHY???
PS: It's all about concentration, Jimmy. We need you to focus so that some day you can be a cog in the machinery of industry. We want you to bear down and work hard so you too can have a little piece of the American Dream.
LJS: What is that?
PS: A giant gas-guzzling car, a mc-mansion, a drinking problem, obesity and debt up to your eyeballs. It's what we want for all our wonderful children. Doesn't that sound good?
LJS: I guess so, but what about recess?
PS: Recess is bad, Jimmy, BAD! Just remember that all work and no play makes Jimmy a very productive little boy.
LJS: But, I thought it was…
PS: Never you mind, Jimmy. Never you mind. Now, you just run along and…have fun with your slide rule.
LJS: Yes, Principal Sourpuss.
PS: Good boy.
Here is an actual quote from a student:
“They told us we can't have recess because our scores are going low and we need higher scores to get our recess back,” student Brianna Lambert said.
Even sadder, and I didn't know this, they have Saturday tutoring to help kids pass the TAKS test! School on Saturday to pass a mandated test that tells us absolutely nothing about a child's ability to learn and has zero bearing on his/her education. Brilliant!