Trying to save the fourth R in the school day


Remember when the four Rs were an essential part of every school day? Those were the long-ago days before school kids – and their teachers – were saddled with excessive standardized testing and excessive hand-wringing over how kids in Finland did better on test scores than we did.

Are you old enough to even remember the four Rs? They were, of course, reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic – and recess.

Public school students still are taught the first three Rs, although sometimes by different names. But the fourth R has become an endangered species in some schools, dropped from the school day for various reasons, including – you guessed it – to provide more time to prepare students for testing.

Now, we may be seeing an effort to revive the fourth R, at least in Dallas ISD, where trustee Dan Micciche is recommending a policy change to require recess for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade at least once a day in all the district’s elementary schools.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Micciche also said that physical education classes, which are structured, should not substitute for recess, where children are given an opportunity to take a break to play with friends and other classmates, or just relax.

“Numerous studies have discussed the importance of recess in improving social and emotional health and learning,” he said.

And, he could have added, relieving the stress of too many standardized tests.




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