Posted in Play Kid's Work

Play is More Important Than Tests

Sometimes I feel like everything I put on this blog could be titled, “Coming Soon to a Public School Near You.” Once again people who don’t “get it” are making decisions about children and education…based solely on test scores. This time it’s folks who ought to know better…

Elementary schools phasing out recess

“If you have a 15-minute recess scheduled you spend five minutes getting (students) to the playground, another five getting back and then five more minutes getting them calmed down and ready to learn back in the classroom,” said Agustin Orci, deputy superintendent of instruction for the district. “You end up blowing 30 minutes of potential instructional time to gain the limited benefits of having recess. It’s become a luxury we can’t afford.”

Recess is equivalent to “…blowing 30 minutes of…instructional time?” Since when is children’s play a “luxury?” Oh, right…since the “test and punish culture” made school all about test scores.

I remember when the “abuse of testing craze” started a couple of decades ago…that was when we were required to use “research-based instruction.” A group of us got together and found a research basis for everything we did. Every teacher in our school system needed to be ready to justify what they did based on research.

Later, (2002) the US Department of Education started the What Works Clearinghouse so teachers could find teaching techniques and methods which were (supposedly) supported by research.

But now the truth has come out…when research goes against what the “reformers” want it’s ignored…or denied.

The overuse and misuse of testing has resulted in children being denied time to play even though research shows that play is vitally important to a child’s social, emotional, physical and yes, even academic growth.

Here’s a video from the UK that addresses the value of play (listen carefully…some strong Scottish dialect in this video!).

Let the Children Play, It’s Good for Them!

…pretend play is not only important for kids; it’s a crucial part of what makes all humans so smart.

More about the positive value of play…


All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

Stop the Testing Insanity!


Retired after 35 years in public education.