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Petitioning State Representative Steve Toth

Support HB 3770 for Unstructured Mandatory Recess In Texas Elementary Schools


Thank you so much to everyone giving your support for mandatory recess in Texas. I have great news. Thanks to Rep. Cindy Burkett (HD-101), a bill, HB 3770, has been written and filed for mandatory recess. Not only that, but Rep. Eddie Lucio III (HD-38) has signed on as a joint-author! Keep spreading the word about recess in Texas! The billl is in committee now...we can't let it die there like the previous ones.

{Recess} a general term for a period of time in which a group of people is temporarily dismissed from its duties. In parlimentary prodecure, a recess is initiated by a motion of recess.*

Unfortunately, in Texas schools (along with a vast amount of schools across the country), the definition of recess is also accompanied with the terms "optional", "waste of valuable learning time", "unnecessary mandate", "dangerous" and "expensive".

In 2008, a bill was filed with the Texas House that required 20 minutes of daily unstructured recess for elementary public schools in Texas. The bill, HB159, was authored by Rep. Joe Deshotel (HD-22). It was never put to a vote. Actually, it never made it out of committee and has since been retired. According to a news story on WFAA:

Rep. Rob Eissler, powerful chairman of the House Education Committee, says he understands the benefits of recess but isn't ready to support another state mandate. "We try to leave the discretion to the people running the schools who are the people closest to the kids," he said. The bill is stuck in Eissler's committee.

If leaving discretion to the people closest to our kids is best...then it may be time to take a step back and consider that the people closest are the parents. It is not the people running the schools.

A mandate supporting unstructured recess for children is anything but "another mandate". The policy-makers-that-be are not the ones affected by the lack of recess. It is the kids. My kid. Your kid. The kid you hope to have one day. The kid that you will eventually employee at your business. They are the ones that have to sit seven hours a day in an over-crowded classroom. They must be able to stay engaged amongst students with different education levels and behavior patterns. They are the ones that have to digest, then retain, brand new information on a daily basis. They are the ones that eat the school lunches, breakfasts, and now, dinners loaded with additives that cause hyperactivity. They are the ones that have to complete homework in the evening. They are the ones expected to pass a standardized test in a non-standardized system. A failing test means their school will lose funding, their teacher's job will be on the line and their school district will receive a lower rating. 

The pressure for our children is immense...and they are being set up for failure.

Currently, the system in place, is neglecting key elements to make our children's education successful: health and social development. The most expensive, well-researched and highest rated curriculum on the market cannot teach this. Kids have to learn this on their own. There is an obvious reason why children do not bring home "social development" homework.

As parents, we are expected to take the reins on our children's health. We are told that allowing our children to sit in front of televisions, computers and video games fosters a sedentary lifestyle for our kids. We are told once they become teens, they would rather socialize through texts, email, and other social media outlets. We are bombarded with school flyers, newsletters, media articles, television documentaries and public service announcements with jaw-dropping statistics and research about the importance of getting our kids moving. As a parent, I agree with all of this.

On the same token, how is having a child sit in a classroom for hours without any means to socially interact in person any different?

Join me in asking the State of Texas to give our kids 20 minutes.


** watch the news story from 2009 here:

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    Steve Toth

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