Evidence-based, the term schools use to justify their decisions on everything academic related. Is this 100% accurate? Do school leaders really use evidence when deciding how long students need to sit in a classroom? Are there studies and evidence to show reducing art, music, and PE are beneficial for the “whole child”? In attempting to leave no child behind, the system has created an overweight/obese child with attention and behavioral problems, and yes, there is plenty of evidence to show just that.
The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Report from the CDC outlined the MINIMUM standards and associated beneficial evidence of daily physical exercise and activity for ALL age groups. The CDC said in this report that children and adolescents need 60 daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, now commonly called MVPA. In this lengthy document developed over a period of years by doctors and scientists, it also describes in detail the cognitive benefits of 60 daily minutes of MVPA. Being schools require evidence to make decisions for the proper development of a child, why are more than the majority of schools and school districts ignoring this glaring piece of evidence?
State laws set forth the required number of days and hours schools must be in session. I have not seen an evidence-based study behind why these parameters have been set. Is there anything inherently wrong with them? Debatable. Is there anything inherently right about them? Debatable. If state school leaders truly based their decisions on evidence, it would make sense that double blind studies on the proper length of a school day and number of school days would be published. Additionally, studies on how long classes are required to have children sit quietly for maximal academic benefit would be readily available. Surprisingly, no such studies exist for either. Each school and school district has their own discretion to fill in the box, long as it meets the state’s requirements for number of days in school and hours of the day.
The question becomes, if evidence is required for all these decisions, why are there no studies out there guiding school leaders? Before the No Child Left Behind Act, 500,000 kids nationwide were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Currently over a million are now diagnosed. Coincidentally, recess and PE times have been reduced drastically, are these purely coincidences? Has the biological and psychological makeup of a human child changed since the mid 1980’s to warrant more ADD/ADHD? My answer is no, they are the same human tissue and nerve synapses as the 1980’s.
The only honest-to-goodness evidence-based study out there, are the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines. School leaders, open your eyes and read the answer to all of your test scores, behavioral problems, and childhood obesity issues. THE AUTHORITY in all things health, states less class time and more physical activity and exercise are the solutions to what ails your students! No negative side effects exist. A little less butt in the seat time, and more move around time does a body and brain evidence-based good! If you don’t believe the CDC, read numerous articles from the Harvard Medical Journal Blog, Science Daily, and Medical News Today. Nothing but evidence-based studies to make decision making, a snap!