SEA/SPS Reach Agreement on Recess

From the Seattle Times:

The district and teachers union agreed to a guaranteed minimum 30 minutes of recess for elementary school students. Teachers had originally asked for 45 minutes and compromised on at least 30, said Rich Wood, spokesman for the Washington Education Association.

As for the rest of the contract:

Representatives from the union and district met most of the day Saturday and continued negotiations Sunday.

Negotiations will likely continue until 8 or 9 p.m. Sunday, said Phyllis Campano, Seattle Education Association vice president and bargaining team chair. The two parties will likely discuss equity, testing and compensation Sunday, among smaller issues, she said.

Oddly, the Times' business reporter wrote the story.  I understand that contracts are part of a business but it seems like the education reporters would have already been covering the story.


Anonymous said…
I got out of 8th grade in 1960. We had a 15 minute morning recess and a 15 minute afternoon recess and a full 45 minutes for lunch and noon recess. It was a longer school day than in Seattle currently.... really the Union needed to argue to get a guaranteed at least 30 minutes of recess.... insanity reigns.

Exhausted Mind
Anonymous said…
No joke. Who seems to be advocating for humane treatment of students? I wonder what the number of 504s for anxiety are in the district. Maybe we need to incorporate mindfulness (as was part of the PD for many teachers lat week) because the amount of much needed play has been so dramatically reduced.
- kidsneedplay
lowell parent said…
Does having a longer recess mean we have a longer day or the same day but less instruction?
Anonymous said…
kidsneedplay -

The Lunch & Recess Matters group has been advocating for more recess and for a standard minimum across the district. I haven't followed this issue closely for a long time, but it seems to me that SEA picked up on it as a result of this group's advocacy. Much as I think our teachers are generally great advocates for our kids, I wonder if they'd have brought this issue to the table without that parent pressure.

So - parents need to be keeping up the pressure.

(FWIW, I'd be OK with a longer day, as long as there was more recess. When I was at school in the 70s & 80s, we had 15-20 mins recess in the morning and afternoon, and an hour for lunch recess, which included about 30 mins sitting to eat and about 30 mins play. The school day was 6 1/2 hrs.)

Lynn said…
@lowell parent,

The state includes recess (but not lunch) in the calculation of instructional hours. So - no need to increase length of school day for increased recess time. As for reduced instruction, in my opinion, frequent breaks allow children to be more attentive to instruction. More recess = happier kids and no loss of progress. (As an example, Norway's 7 and 8 year olds are in school for about 20 hours a week and that time includes a 10 minute recess every hour. It doesn't seem to be hurting their academic results.)
Anonymous said…
About Norway's students test results "poor"....for 7 and 8 year-olds.

2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study results (TIMSS)

Mathematics =>

Grade 4
Norway compared with USA, percent of students at each benchmark

Norway - USA - benchmark

2 -13- Advanced

21 -47- High or better

63 -81- Intermediate or better

91 -96- Low or better


Science grade 4 Norway compared with USA

Norway - USA - benchmark

1 -15- Advanced

19 -49- High or better

64 -81- Intermediate or better

92 -96- Low or better

Fact Checker
Anonymous said…
Even for adults we do better with real movement breaks from concentrated work. I just read a repeat article originally posted at url below with info from their product research saying that 52 minutes of concentrated work followed by 17 minutes of moving around from the desk results in the best productivity. I'm sure there is an app for that...ha ha! It is hard to get up from one's computer after 52 minutes, but I would not be surprised if the info is correct. And I also think it is good for children to move between their stretches of concentration and would make them learn more.

ProSleep Mom said…
The District put out this proposal for, as I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong) 30 minutes extra instructional time and 20 minutes less PCP time, in mid-August, two weeks before the contract expired.

Questions: Do they have solid research that shows this will create a big gain in achievement,a way to close the opportunity gap, etc? They reference one study; are there lots more? are there contradictory studies? is there a consensus among those who have researched this?

Do they have research that shows no negative results from reduced PCP time? (As far as I know, a major problem with our current system is too little PCP/collaborative time. This proposal takes us seriously backwards.)

Have they done any community engagement on what I think of as a pretty major change? (This answer is easy- absolutely zero. Compare this with well over four long years for the parent-teacher initiated bell times process.)

I hope the teachers say no, no and no to this idea, until an excellent case is made for the change, there is a well thought out plan, and it is not done on the backs of teachers.

I imagine this is coming at least partially from the need to comply with 1080 hours/24 credits. I will say that I was at a Curriculum and Instruction meeting this summer (July?) and Tolley said there that adding 15 minutes to the HS day would allow block periods and solve the 1080/24 credit problem. The committee consensus was also that 15 extra minutes would not impact the proposed bell time changes. There was certainly no discussion there of the plan on the table now.
Anonymous said…
Nyland has been sending outright lies to everyone implying teachers are being lazy and greedy at the expense of students' learning time. He is our Scott Walker! So any parent who wants more recess/lunch time and fewer useless tests for their kids need to step up and say that to EVERYONE. Otherwise we'll have people saying nasty things about unions and calling teachers vile names for having health benefits and a 9-month school year, have y'all seen the comments in the news? People don't realize that many teachers have to take classes and work another job during the summer. I'm always amazed at how badly teachers are treated in this country.

America is weird, CEOs get paid hundreds of millions and it's perfectly okay, but GOD FORBID! their employees or any one else dare to ask for a living wage, or for healthcare or humane working conditions. So many people think since they're being treated badly at their jobs, all other workers should suffer the same way too. How did the rich and powerful convince these people that their enemies are the workers who ask not to be criminally exploited instead of the bosses and companies
doing the exploitation?

Unions are so much weaker than they used to be. The rich have been so successful in demonizing unions in the last decade, and the economic crash caused by greedy banks and CEOs have cowered people so much that they're brainwashed to believe that corporations can't afford to pay their share of taxes or pay living wages to their employees. Look at poor Wisconsin, UW-Madison used to be one of the top Biological Sciences universities
in the country. Thanks to Scott Walker, it's being strangled to death. A state university located in a small town like Madison that has long miserable winters isn't going to be able to get out of state students (who pay A LOT MORE tuition) without well respected faculty and top notch research. Walker's destruction of unions and all-out war to kill tenure and cut public education funding is driving all the best people away from Wisconsin's schools. If we're not careful, the same thing can happen here to our schools. There are a huge shortage of teachers in Oregon and California, and Portland is a great city that's much less expensive than Seattle. If teachers can't afford to live in Seattle, we will end up with those Teach-for-a-very-short-while people that Gates et al. have been pushing on our schools. Several states have already been forced to hire uncredentialled people as teachers according to the NYT.

When is Nyland planning to add this extra half hour to the school day? There's been ZERO communication to families, first time we ever heard about this was a couple of weeks ago in his propaganda emails against SEA.
Are we supposed to change all our afterschool classes/activities/sports/tutoring/childcare/work arrangements with ZERO notice or input/discussion? Is this legal?

John Heckendorn said…
This comment comes from a pro-union Seattle worker and a father of 2 children who attended Seattle public schools (2005-2014) This parent says "SHAME ON YOU" to the teachers ESPECIALLY at the high school level !My request is to allow the public/parents to view the districts drop-out rates of all Seattle high schools AND make available to the public the GPA of all Seattle high schools as well as accurate crime rates and discipline administered !! What a dysfunctional district for such a prosperous city like Seattle !! I recommend reducing the staff at the Stanford center by AT LEAST 50% And at the HS level I suggest all teachers take a 5% PAY REDUCTION and add ONE HOUR to their work day ! In addition, teachers sick days should have limits or better yet, allow the temp/substitute instructor a portion of the absent teachers pay for the ENTIRE WEEK!! Lets also put it out there for all residents of Seattle to review the pathetic state of the special education programs and the many legal issues that go along with this decade long travesty !! What my family and many other families have experienced with this district forces me to recommend ANY alternative to education to all families in Seattle even if it means relocation to a higher quality district such as Shoreline, Bellevue or even Tacoma !

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