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Is Play on the Decline at Your School?

Education Week/ Teacher blogger Nancy Flanagan published a blog post yesterday on the disappearance of play from schools and it's well worth a read, if you've got the time.

Nancy boiled the problem down to this:

"Too much of what we do in education revolves around reproducing and reiterating, rather than playful creation."

Given that the U.S. Government Accountability Office just released a report Monday that suggests school sports opportunities were actually on the increase, I thought the contrast was worth acknowledging. Why do schools seem to be moving further toward extra test-prep and away from a well-rounded education, one that includes physical activity and built-in play time?

Paul Caccamo, executive director of Up2Us, a New York City-based coalition of nonprofit organizations that aim to support youth sports programs, thinks there needs to be a rethinking of public education.

"The way it used to be, we used to have a much more comprehensive view of what it means to raise children in this country, and for many years, sports were part of it," he said over the phone today.

As policymakers gear up to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act), Caccamo says they should take a long, hard look at what the role of public education is. If it's to support well-rounded children, "then you're talking about protecting the access for all children to participate in sports," he said.

I'll have more from Caccamo and a few others in a story next week about the GAO report, so keep an eye out for that. (I'll post a link here when it's published.)

But, until then: Have you noticed an absence of play opportunities for students in your school? Do you believe the decline is correlated with NCLB or the recession? Curious to hear your thoughts.

Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.

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