Another big difference between the schools is that at Thornton Creek, most of the students are white and middle–class. At Dunlap, nearly all of the students are black, Latino or Asian and from low–income families.
That corresponds to what KUOW found when we surveyed recess times across the Seattle school district. For instance, we looked at the 15 highest–poverty and lowest—poverty schools. Kids at the low–poverty schools average 16 minutes more recess than kids at the high–poverty schools. That amounts to about one whole recess more.And amount of recess?
Dornfeld: "A lot of schools in the district give kids 45 minutes to an hour of recess every single day. Is that something that you see as realistic for this school?"
Thompson (principal at John Muir): "Um, so I would be interested to know who is giving 45 minutes to an hour of recess. Because I actually wasn't aware of that. And I would say that it's pretty unlikely. That's just a tremendous amount of time out of the day."
In fact, 17 Seattle elementary schools give students that much recess.
KUOW found that schools which offer the most recess, 45 minutes or more, have relatively few low–income students – an average of 20 percent. Compare that to an average of 71 percent low–income students at schools with the least recess: an average of half an hour or less each day.
An expert says:
Dr. Lenna Liu says that disparity is troubling because kids from low–income families often need recess the most. Liu is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic. About 40 percent of the kids she sees are overweight or obese. She says that's typical for low–income families.