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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Presidential Elections 2017


We have two excellent candidates this time for the position of the President of India. Either of them will make a very good President.

We already know, who is going to win.
Even promotion and campaigning is not needed as the members forming the voters in the electoral college will anyway blindly vote as per their party instructions. I really doubt if these voters know anything about the candidates credibility and credentials other than their being Dalits.

Both the political parties, the Congress and the BJP are projecting their being Dalit as the only qualification for them, which is wrong.

One has been a great lawyer, member of the parliament and a governor.
The other has been a successful career diplomat, a member of the parliament, minister and speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Their cast, which is just incidental, is being promoted and projected as their main virtue. When Pranab Mukerjee was selected as presidential candidate, no one said he is a Brahmin.
Being a 'Chatur Brahmin', it seems a liability to be hidden.

By selecting a Dalit as a candidate, both the political parties are giving an impression as if they giving alms to beggars (if not throwing crumbs.)

Dalits are not beggars.....

In case they are so worried about the Dalits,

Why have they not made Dalit as a Prime Minister????

Are there no Dalits in the elected MPs in both parties, who are capable of handling this position???
The concern of both parties for Dalits is both opportunistic and self serving and it is for display only.

It is time people of India create third political dispensation that can treat Dalits as normal human beings and create situation, where the Brahmins do not have to hide their caste, And Dalits do not have to display their caste.

or a political thought process that doesn't promote caste labels.



Quite naturally, your views are required to keep this discussion inflamed.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

China in quantum breakthrough as 'unhackable' experimental satellite sends first message. 06-22

  • Scientists in China used 'quantum satellite' to send entangled photons 1,200 km
  • The satellite produces entangled photon pairs which form an encryption key
  • These photons will theoretically remain linked over great distances
  • This means that any attempts to listen in will be detected on the other side. 
In a major breakthrough for quantum teleportation, scientists in China have successfully transmitted entangled photons farther than ever before, achieving a distance of more than 1,200 km (745 miles) between suborbital space and Earth.

Entangled photons theoretically maintain their link across any distance, and have potential to revolutionize secure communications – but, scientists have previously only managed to maintain the bond for about 100 km (62 miles).

Using the ‘quantum satellite’ Micius, the scientists were able to communicate with three ground stations in China, each more than 1,000 km (621 miles) apart. 

In quantum physics, entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed by one affects the behaviour of the other, even if they are separated by huge distances. This is illustrated in the artist's impression above.

The 1,300 pound craft satellite is equipped with a laser beam, which the scientists subjected to a beam splitter.

This gave the beam two distinct polarized states.

One of these beams was then used to transmit entangled particles, and the other used to receive the photons. 

Pairs of entangled photons fired to ground stations can then form a ‘secret key.’
Theoretically, any attempts to breach this type of communication would be easily detectable. 

The satellite launched from Jiuquan Satellite launch Center last year, and the new findings mark a promising step forward in the two-year mission prove successful, which could be followed by a fleet of others if all goes well, according to Nature.
To overcome the complications of long-distance quantum entanglement, scientists often break the line of transmission up, creating smaller segments that can then repeatedly swap, purify, and store the information along the optical fiber, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

The researchers sought to prove that particles can remain entangled across great distances – in this case, nearly 750 miles.

Earlier efforts to demonstrate quantum communication have shown this can be done up to just over 180 miles, and scientists hope that transmitting the photons through space will push this even farther.

When travelling through air and optical fibres, protons get scattered or absorbed, Nature explains, posing challenges to the preservation of the fragile quantum state.
But, photons can travel more smoothly through space.

Achieving quantum communication at such distances would enable the creation of secure worldwide communications networks, allowing two parties to communicate using a shared encryption key.

In quantum physics, entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed by one affects the behaviour of the other, even if they are separated by huge distances. 

So, if someone were to attempt to listen in on one end, the disruption would be detectable on the other. 

Over the course of the two-year mission, the researchers in China will conduct a Bell test to prove the existence of entanglement at such a great distance.

And, they will attempt to ‘teleport’ quantum states, according to Nature, meaning the quantum state of the photo will be rebuilt in a new location.

Researchers from Canada, Japan, Italy, and Singapore have also revealed plans to conduct quantum experiments in space, including one proposed aboard the International Space Station.

This experiment would attempt to create a reliable and efficient means for teleportation.

By achieving quantum teleportation, the researchers say they could create a telescope with an enormous resolution.

‘You could not just see planets,’ Paul Kwiat, a physicist at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign involved with the Nasa project, ’but in principle read licence plates on Jupiter’s moons.’   

This working heart tissue is made from spinach 06-21

Researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have transformed a spinach leaf into functional heart tissue. The team’s goal was to recreate human organ tissue down to the fragile vascular networks of blood vessels it can’t survive without. Scientists had previously attempted to 3D print intricate vascular networks without success. This breakthrough could mean that the delicate vascular systems of plants are the key.

To create the heart tissue, the scientists at WPI revealed the leaf’s cellulose frame by stripping away the plant cells. Then, they “seeded” the frame with human cells, causing tissue growth on the frame. Finally, they were able to pump microbeads and fluids through the veins to illustrate the functioning concept.

Repairing Damage, Creating Replacements

Although other scientists have been able to create small-scale artificial samples of human tissue, those samples required integration with existing blood vessels. The large-scale creation of working tissue infused with the vascular vessels critical to tissue health had proven impossible.

Because the technique could help people grow layers of stronger, healthier heart muscle, the team suggests that it could eventually be used to treat heart attack patients or others whose hearts have difficulty contracting. The researchers have also experimented with parsley, peanut hairy roots, and sweet wormwood as they believe the technique could make use of different kinds of plants to repair other types of tissues. For example, wood cellulose frames could one day help us repair human bones.

“We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising,” Glenn Gaudette, a professor of biomedical engineering at WPI, told The Telegraph. “Adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a host of problems limiting the field.”

How HIV-1 puts itself to sleep 06-21

Read about the antisense ASP RNA acting as viral latency factor.

Image credit : Shyam's Imagination Library

Upon infection of a new cell, the HIV-1 genome integrates into the genome of the host cell, and in this form HIV-1 is known as a provirus. Under proper cellular conditions, the HIV-1 provirus produces the transactivator Tat that drives efficient expression of the viral genome, leading to the production of new viral particles.

Alternatively, the provirus remains silent in a status known as latency. In our study, we demonstrated that HIV-1 encodes an antisense transcript (ASP) that recruits the cellular Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2) to the proviral 5’LTR. PRC2 promotes nucleosome assembly at the 5’LTR, leading to transcription silencing and proviral latency.

While active regulation of proviral expression by Tat has long been known, latency was thought to be a passive event caused primarily by the absence of key cellular and viral transcription factors. Our study demonstrated that – on the contrary – HIV-1 also regulates the establishment and maintenance of latency through ASP, and therefore it controls all aspects of its destiny.

The impetus for this study happened – as often is the case – very serendipitously. Our lab became interested in the presence of antisense transcription in human retroviruses, HTLV-1 and HIV-1 – a research area that was relatively unexplored. There was some evidence in the literature that these antisense transcripts play a role in viral expression, but the mechanism was yet to be described. During an informal discussion, a friend and colleague – Dr. Rosa Bernardi – brought to our attention that many cellular antisense transcripts suppress the expression of their cognate sense transcript by tethering chromatin modifying protein complexes to their promoter regions, and by inducing nucleosome formation and transcriptional silencing.

This inspired us to use RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assays to test whether the HIV-1 antisense RNA (ASP) interacts with members of the PRC2 complex. However, our initial efforts were repeatedly unsuccessful. Discouraged by these negative results, we decided to focus on other projects in the lab. After a few months we revisited these experiments, and we realized that there was a problem in the design of the RT-PCR portion of the RIP assay. After making the necessary modifications to the RT-PCR assay, we were finally able to demonstrate specific interaction between the ASP RNA and two components of the PRC2 complex. This important result encouraged us to further pursue this line of studies.

The “eureka” moment came shortly after that when functional studies showed that over-expression of the ASP RNA in vivo suppresses acute viral replication and promotes the establishment and maintenance of latency.

Our current efforts are focused on defining the structural and functional determinants of the ASP RNA. Since this transcript contains an open reading frame, we are also investigating the expression and function of the ASP protein.

Figure legend

The HIV-1 ASP RNA acts as a viral latency gene: it interacts with the cellular Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2), and recruits it to the HIV-1 5’LTR. There, PRC2 catalyzes trimethylation (Me3) of lysine 27 (K27) on histone H3. The deposition of this repressing epigenetic mark leads to the assembly of the nucleosome Nuc-1, turning off transcription from the HIV-1 5’LTR, and promoting viral latency.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mastering the Art of Communication: What Big Data Can Tell Us 06-15

Image credit: Shyam's Imagination Library

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence about what makes a good communicator, but Noah Zandan is
more interested in the science behind it. That’s why he co-founded Quantified Communications, a firm that helps business leaders remake and refine their messages.

Zandan spoke recently to Cade Massey, Wharton practice professor of operations, information and decisions and co-director of the Wharton People Analytics Initiative, about how he applies research to the art of communication. Massey is co-host of the Wharton Moneyball show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111, and this interview was part of a special broadcast on SiriusXM for the Wharton People Analytics Conference.

An edited transcript of the conversation appears below.

Cade Massey: Let’s understand what Quantified Communications is and how you got going in that direction.

Noah Zandan: The idea behind it is that communications has always been considered an art. How people talk to each other, how executives communicate, how we relate to other people, how we connect to the world around us, has always kind of been this art. Academics have been studying it for years, which is really exciting, and what we are trying to do at Quantified Communications is bring some of that research and apply it to a business environment. We work with corporations and organizations to really help their leadership, help the people moving the message of the business to deliver that message, and do it in a way where they are using objective data to know whether or not it works.

Massey: What is your background?

Zandan: I studied economics in college. Econometrics. I showed up on Wall Street, bright-eyed, and realized pretty quickly as I got further and further into Wall Street that we were modeling everything — obviously looking at risk and trying to make $1 billion decisions — off of data. But there was a missing factor from our model, and that was the people: The way that the executives communicate, the way they told the story, how confident they were was really one of the critical success factors on Wall Street. But there was no data behind it, and I’m an econ guy. [I thought,] “This isn’t rational.” I started looking and found some amazing research. Folks like James Pennebaker at the University of Texas, people who have been measuring this stuff for years, but nobody in the business environment knew this existed.

“We thought visionaries would really be complex thinkers, but in fact what they’re really concerned with is making things simple and breaking it down into steps.”

And so from there, we started. Our co-founder [Peter Zandan] has a Ph.D. in evaluation research and started finding all of this great stuff and then built a big database and a big platform to measure it. All of the big presidential speeches, all of the TED talks, media interviews — you name it, we’ve tried to go find it.

Massey: What are you doing with it?

Zandan: Well first, you have to be able to process it. So you’ve got to tag it; you’ve got to organize it; you’ve got to make sure that it’s useful. The New York Times calls it being a data janitor. It is a huge part of the job for a data scientist. We spent a long time doing that, and then we had to go understand it. Was it successful or not? Did it accomplish its purpose? Did the audience react to it in the appropriate way? Go out and ask a bunch of people what they think. Do you trust this person if they did this? Do you believe them? Do you want to engage with them more? And then measure the factors of the communication. What types of words did they use? Were they making eye contact? What were they doing with their hands? Then you can understand the factors that correlate with success.

Massey: How did you decide what factors to look for?

Zandan: Again, academic research. Folks in academics have been doing this for years. One of the best guys out is Albert Mehrabian out of UCLA. He created this model called the Three Vs — verbal, voice and visual. It breaks down someone’s communication into some of the important elements, and he did a bunch of research as to how those are correlated with whether or not I like you. You go talk to communications folks and researchers, and they understand eye contact, facial movement, features.

There are factors behind all this stuff.

Massey: As you said, it’s historically been an art. What is the disparity between what you’re bringing to this conversation versus what’s been in the conversation before? When you come to these academics with this unbelievable database and say, “I’ve run some tests of these ideas,” are they saying, “This is different than anything we’ve seen before?” Or is this just a bigger version of what they’ve done?

Zandan: I would probably say it’s just a different use case. The academics are doing it from a great research standard, really thinking about how to apply it for research validation. What we’re doing is trying to bring it in a more applied way — looking at how leaders can communicate, really thinking carefully about what their purposes and audience types are. And then we can also go a little bit further, in that we can build predictive models and just run them over and over, given that we’re a business and not held to kind of the research standards.

Massey: One question you’ve looked at is, what do visionary communicators or visionary leaders do? Can you give us a recap of your findings?

“If you think about Elon Musk talking about Tesla, he always talks about what it’s like to drive in the car, what it’s like to look at the car, how the doors work.”

Zandan: We looked at hundreds of transcripts of visionary leaders. It was just a linguistic analysis. We didn’t look at their faces or voices or things like that. What we identified was what separates these people who we consider to be visionaries, everybody from Amelia Earhardt to FDR to Elon Musk to TED Talks on innovation. What separates them from the average communicator? What distinguishes them from a factor model perspective?

There were three main findings that we had. One: We thought visionaries would talk a lot about the future, but in fact they talked about the present. Two: We thought visionaries would really be complex thinkers, but in fact what they’re really concerned with is making things simple and breaking it down into steps. Three: We thought that visionaries would be really concerned with their own vision, but in fact they’re more concerned with getting their vision into the minds of their audience.

Massey: What does that mean?

Zandan: That means using second-person pronouns and using a lot of perceptual language, talking about look, touch and feel. It really brings the audience into the experience with you. So if you think about Elon Musk talking about Tesla, he always talks about what it’s like to drive in the car, what it’s like to look at the car, how the doors work. It’s really less about the future of energy and transport. As this kind of theoretical vehicle, he really brings it and makes it tangible.

Massey: One thing that jumps out to me about that research is the present tense versus the future, especially when you’re talking about visionary leaders. You would have expected that to go the other way. Why do you think they are so much more effective?

Zandan: We saw it highly correlated with credibility. I think that people think if you’re talking so much about the future, then it’s going to be less credible. People aren’t going to believe you as much. So, you really want to [apply it to] today.

“The data can lead you down a path of replication. We don’t want to do that, because so much of what you communicate is your personality.”

Massey: How do you apply this research for your clients?

Zandan: What we often get asked to do is help people improve their communications, use the technology, use the analytics, allow them to make data-driven decisions on how to better impact their audiences. The No. 1 question Oprah Winfrey gets when the lights go off after her interviews with all of these amazing world leaders and celebrities is, “How did I do?” That’s what these people want to know. We can answer that not in a way that their team is going to — which is, “Hey, boss, you did great.” We can actually give them a lot of truth in the data — talk about how they are perceived, talk about how they can get better, and give them a very prescriptive plan to better impact their audiences and achieve their purposes.

Massey: When you work with people in that role, what data do you collect?

Zandan: We look at text, audio or video, which we can take in. We’ll break those down into the elements. So text is what you say, the words. For audio, we’ll look at the words as well as your voice. And then for video, which is our favorite, you’ve got the face and the gestures. You break down all of those into different behavioral patterns, you measure all of them, you benchmark them against what they would consider to be a measure of success. That could be themselves, that could be someone who is best in class, that could be a competitor they aspire to be. And then you could give them a road map for how to achieve that. We’ll give them some guidance on that, but a lot of times they know. The White House came to us and said, “We want to replicate one of Obama’s best speeches. We know which one was our favorite, and we want to understand the different factors behind that.”
Massey: Can you speak about what you found?

Zandan: No. But the speech was a eulogy in Arizona, which they considered to be one of the best ones he has given during his tenure.

Massey: Let’s put it this way, did you find anything interesting when you looked at that kind of speech from that level? That’s really championship-level rhetoric.

Zandan: Of course. You uncover stuff, but what’s worth saying here is that there is also the other side of the equation, which is authenticity. I am not President Obama. I do not speak like President Obama. If I did, it would seem very strange to an audience. Everybody has their authentic tone. We work really hard to measure authenticity. It’s one of the hardest problems.

Massey: Being able to do something like that would be a real advance.

Zandan: It would. And there is obviously authenticity to the way you deliver the message, and there are words that are considered authentic. But what we’re careful on is we don’t want to push people to be something that they’re not. The data can lead you down a path of replication. We don’t want to do that, because so much of what you communicate is your personality.

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Choose staff wisely when planning a digital transformation 06-13

Plenty of large businesses are, justifiably, embracing innovation of all kinds. But, cautions HPE's Craig Partridge, consider whether IT staff from old-school backgrounds (and their "think conservatively" cultural values) are the right people for a successful digital transition.

Every business wants to enhance what it does to make its products more valuable to customers (and thus more profitable to the company) and work more efficiently (that is, save money). So just about every enterprise organization is motivated to augment or create a digital strategy.

It’s one thing for a business to say, “Let’s exploit new technologies to gain competitive advantage.” Reaching that goal—or at least avoiding being left behind—takes a strategic plan, a dose of shiny new technology, and most important, attention to the human beings who create and implement the plan

In a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Discover presentation, “Thriving in the Age of Digital Disruption,” HPE’s Craig Partridge, worldwide director of data center platforms consulting, shared real-life lessons of digital transformation based on customer use cases and successful projects. In the one-hour, high-speed session, Partridge detailed a blueprint highlighting the elements needed for success.

And regardless of the many technologies and business processes that may be involved, there’s one key lesson to take away from the exercise: Choose the right people for the job, and value your staff for their diverse abilities. Doing so creates tension, Partridge said. But that isn’t a bad thing.

Digital disruption is about data

Disruption might take the form of a car manufacturer that wants to build out a connected car. It may be a bank aiming to give customers a good mobile digital experience. Perhaps it’s a sports stadium that recognizes that attending a game now includes mobility and Wi-Fi, not just a hot dog. Or the Rio airport, which during the Olympics had to digitize its services to accommodate an extra 2 million passengers.

Most of these projects are powered by emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, cloud, machine learning, and data analytics.

Technologically speaking, the “edge” is about data: how you collect it, how you analyze it, and how you use it for competitive advantage. Each of us generates a huge amount of unstructured data, especially with our mobile devices. Nowadays, the "machine edge" (smart sensors and machine-to-machine communication) is adding even more data. “Going forward, I see people combining those two data sets to create a good experience,” Partridge said.

In the past, cloud computing discussions have focused on core-out issues: What should IT move out of the data center? Today, the conversation is about what data to bring in and how best to do so. That encourages a different viewpoint. “Hybrid IT is what powers that new experience at the edge,” Partridge said. And IT has to change the operating model to work in that new way.  

As organizations put together software-defined agendas to accelerate how and where they deliver services, the first step is recognizing that not every traditional business application needs to be changed or disrupted. Some big transactional systems don't need to be mobile. Other systems need to be bulldozed and replaced.

The drive to improve digital experiences is also forcing organizations to work with partners in the value chain (especially with API-based tools). It means adopting concepts like continuous integration and the DevOps agenda, cloud management tool sets, and open cloud stacks, all with quick feedback and quick iteration. This kind of thinking does not come naturally to many large IT shops.
Yet “new” often translates into “We haven’t figured this out yet.” (If it were otherwise, it wouldn’t be much of a disruption, right?) HPE has created blueprints for the business process to help organizations succeed—after all, you’d rather learn from others’ mistakes than your own, right?

Foster the people

“The No. 1 reason projects succeed or fail is people,” said Partridge, echoing sentiments long understood by developers and IT professionals, if not their managers. People processes, politics, and governance have a huge effect on project outcomes, even when you don’t think you are dealing with a so-called peopleware problem.

“Brokering the supply chain sounds like a technical issue,” Partridge noted. “What people miss is that it requires an organization shift.” A business’s CIO now has to place demand appropriately across the supply chain, which sometimes is in other parts of the organization.

Less obvious to many enterprise development teams are cultural issues. They spent years creating an organization based on repeatable processes and infrastructure, such as reliability, approval-based plans, and a waterfall development model that’s measured in months.

That predictability and resilience are strengths. “These are big deals to IT,” Partridge said. “We can’t lose that DNA. These systems of record need to maintain that integrity.”

But the new systems that are part of the digital disruption move a lot faster. Innovation-optimized projects emphasize flexibility, working on small teams that are business-centric and close to the customer, with short-term goals and a willingness to embrace uncertainty. “That technical documentation is six months old, so it’s out of date,” one DevOps consultant said to me during the conference, just in passing.

The development process for imagining disruption requires a different mind-set. Central IT pros can generally learn new tech, but learning new values and mind-sets can be much more challenging. “We can be retrained, but we have habits ingrained from years of work,” Partridge said.
For example, when the automobile manufacturer launched its digital transformation project, it initially staffed the team from its central IT department, whose "cadence didn't lend itself to rapid iterative development,” Partridge said.

The company ended up starting over with a new IT group that operated in parallel with the existing central IT team. Although that might seem like a recipe for bickering and dysfunction, Partridge characterized the relationship as one of “creative tension,” because the friction led both teams to come up with ideas that helped one another. 

Digital transformation: Lessons for leaders

  • “New” often translates into “We haven’t figured this out yet.”
  • No matter how brilliant the idea is, success depends on putting the right personnel in place and supporting them properly. 
  • Value existing systems, and recognize what doesn’t benefit from changing. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Favorite Subject Returns to Schools: Recess. 06-14

After playtime was dropped amid focus on academic performance, educators now take playground breaks seriously

Kindergarten students take to the playground at Oak Point Elementary, in Oak Point, Texas, where recess went from 30 minutes a day to one hour a day. Photo: Brandon Thibodeaux for The Wall Street Journal Three kindergarten girls looked close to taking a spill as they sat on the high back of a bench on a playground at Oak Point Elementary. Feet away, several administrators looked on, not making a move to stop them because at this school outside of Dallas, playtime is revered.

“As long as they’re safe, we allow kids to be kids,” said Daniel Gallagher, assistant superintendent for educational services in the Little Elm Independent School District.

That’s the mantra in this small school district, where schoolchildren are transitioning from one daily 30-minute recess to one hour a day, taken in four 15-minute increments. School officials say children are better focused with more unstructured breaks and do better in school.

School districts throughout the country are reassessing recess—with some bringing back the pastime or expanding it, citing academic and health benefits.

On Tuesday, the Minneapolis school board is expected to consider moving from a recommended 20 minutes of daily recess to a required 30 minutes daily. And in Florida, parents are hoping the governor will soon sign an education bill that includes a required 20 minutes of daily recess for elementary-school students in traditional public schools.

In the past year, the state of Rhode Island and school districts in Dallas, Portland, the Jefferson Parish Public School System in Louisiana, and Orange County and Manatee County school districts in Florida, are among those to implement a daily-recess requirement.About 21% of school districts required recess daily for elementary-school students in the 2013-2014 school year, according to the latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bridging the Gap Research Program. That’s an increase from 16% of school districts with the requirement in 2006-2007.
It’s a change after years of recess taking a back seat to testable core subjects like math and reading, with a noticeable decline in playtime after the rollout of the now-defunct 2002 No Child Left Behind education law that put more focus on holding schools accountable for academic performance.

The Center on Education Policy, a national research group, found in a 2007 report that 58% of school districts increased time spent teaching English language arts, while 45% increased math time, after the 2002 education law. Meanwhile, 20% of school districts decreased the amount of time spent on recess, at an average of 50-minutes less a week. (The CDC recommends at least 20 minutes of daily recess for elementary-school students.)

Supporters of daily recess often point to a 2013 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which says in part that “recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom.” The study also found that “safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it.”

“Recess resets their brain,” said Lowell Strike, superintendent in the Little Elm district, where children have recess as long as the wind chill is at least 13 degrees and the heat index is no higher than 103.

But there has been some pushback. Some school administrators and lawmakers have spoken against state bills to mandate recess, saying it takes away flexibility from schools. This year, the Arizona School Boards Association opposed a bill in the state that would have required 50 minutes of daily recess in elementary schools.

“We are absolutely not against school recess,” said Chris Kotterman, the association’s director of governmental relations. “But when it comes to how the school day should be structured, it should be left up to the local school board. We generally try to keep state policy mandates to a minimum.”
Parents in areas around the country are advocating for daily recess.

Angela Browning is among “recess moms” in Florida pushing for a statewide recess mandate. She said the group has successfully pushed for daily recess in a few Florida school districts, including Orange County Public Schools, where her three children attend school. Ms. Browning said she got active several years ago upon finding out from her children that their school didn’t offer daily recess.

“I was stunned,” she said. “Children learn on the playground—leadership skills, social skills, negotiating skills. With all the testing, recess, along the way, got squeezed out.”

Orange County Public Schools started requiring 20 minutes of recess daily for students in kindergarten through fifth grade in the 2016-17 school year.

Recess requirements are usually decided at the campus level, and to a lesser extent at the district level. Studies have found that a majority of schools offer some type of recess, but not always regularly nor with set timespans—and sometimes in conjunction with school lunch. Those who linger over lunch get less playtime.

The CDC advises against taking recess in conjunction with lunch breaks and physical-education classes, saying that it should be unstructured and on a regular schedule.

In Little Elm, teacher Nicole Beal said she has seen firsthand the benefits of her kindergarten students having recess breaks during the school day.

“Their reading is better, they’re more focused,” she said. “Getting outside, it’s a nice break.”
When the children were asked who likes the extra playtime, every hand shot up.

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