Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Recess II

So the president of the Board of Education turns out to be a lovely woman, concerned, to my surprise, with improving public education in our county. Not only did she return my call and have the good manners to ask if my daughter likes kindergarten, but it took her a full ten minutes to bring up the elephant in the room: the No Child Left Behind Act. And in spite of the indisputable fact that NCLB is the culprit behind the almost fetishistic obsession with “content” that leaves no time for developmentally appropriate activities, she did not try to shift the blame to that most worthy of scapegoats, the federal government. She did, however, tell me that the twenty (ten) minute recess is not a Board policy but an administrative decision, and that I needed to talk to the superintendent. Or maybe the assistant superintendent for elementary schools. She gave me their names and numbers and said she appreciated my call, which, even if it’s not true, is damn polite.

So then I called the assistant superintendent, who not only took my call right away but also seemed to genuinely care about education. I was feeling more encouraged by the minute. I explained my position. She didn’t disagree. I went ahead and blamed the federal government. She still didn’t disagree. I suggested more recess. She continued to not disagree. By now, though, I couldn’t help but notice that she wasn’t exactly agreeing, either. What, I asked, should I do to bring about a change in this policy? It’s not a policy; only the Board writes policy. What is it, then? It’s a guideline. OK, what should I do to change the guideline?

I should write a letter to the superintendent.

Don’t touch that dial.

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