On Monday, the Arizona House passed HB2082, which will require all schools “to provide no less than a total of 50 minutes of unstructured recess each school day in grades K-5. The bill is expected to pass on a roll-call vote and proceed to the Senate.
The bill, which will have a devastating impact on schools that offer formal Physical Education (PE) classes, was proposed by Rep. Jesus Rubacalva.
While recess and PE are two completely different items, schools struggle now to meet the instructional hours requirements as it is. Should they be required to offer 50 minutes as opposed to the 15 minutes normally allotted in elementary schools, reaching instructional hour requirements would be difficult, if not impossible.
A.R.S. Section 15-901 addresses the minimum number of instructional hours to be offered by schools.
When advised that school board members were concerned that the bill could harm existing PE programs, House Whip Kelly Townsend, who had also prepared a bill requiring recess, remarkably stated that in her research she couldn’t find schools that offered PE.
The bill was amended to require students enrolled in half-day kindergarten to be given no less than a total of 25 minutes of unstructured recess time.
The bill makes no provisions for students in other grades that attend schools that have regularly scheduled half-day sessions.
The bill also takes away a teacher’s right to withhold unstructured recess time from a student as punishment without notification to the student’s parent or guardian.