Every elementary school student in Brownsville ISD is now guaranteed a minimum 15-minute recess every day thanks to advocacy from Brownsville Educators Stand Together (BEST AFT).
In December, members of BEST, an organizing committee building toward becoming a full AFT local union, asked district administrators and the Board of Trustees to mandate daily recess on every elementary campus.
In the members’ request, they noted that Brownsville ISD recently spent millions of dollars to build new playgrounds, but too many students were routinely being denied access to them.
“We posed the question, ‘If we can waste countless hours of instructional time on excessive practice testing, then why can’t we use 15 minutes a day for the well-being of our children and community?” said Esmer Garcia Barajas, co-chair of BEST AFT and an elementary teacher.
At a policy subcommittee meeting on Feb. 1, district administrators read a letter to be sent to campus principals, stating that recess must be provided on a daily basis and cannot be used as a discipline consequence or reward.
Kudos to BEST AFT members for advocating for the physical, social, and mental health of their students. This is yet another example of empowered educators — working together in a union — using their voices to improve learning conditions for our kids.