High-schoolers’ ‘recess’: Benefit or brain drain?

Jay Matthews:

There is no limit to what you learn about schools if you listen to teachers. Did you know, for instance, that Fairfax County, the Washington region’s largest school district, is using 10 days a year of valuable instruction time on do-what-you-like recesses for high school students?
I didn’t, either. West Springfield High School physics teacher Ed Linz says this program, designed to help struggling students, is a waste. At his school, students get 90 free minutes a week, which they can use to find dates for Saturday night or check basketball scores, if they want. But his principal, Paul Wardinski, says most students do homework, work on group projects and enrich their studies. It helps teachers to be creative, he says, even if some students look for imaginative ways to goof off.
Linz disclosed the recesses to the county School Board last month. Like President Obama, he said that this is our Sputnik moment and that we can’t win the future throwing away precious class time.