WASHINGTON (AP) — As students headed back to school, District of Columbia parents found that recess had been cut to 15 minutes daily.

The Washington Post reports the change was buried in school budget documents last spring. But it has drawn protests from parents who say their children need more exercise to be healthy and focused in the classroom.

In response, school officials issued new guidance raising the minimum to 20 minutes. They say principals may add more recess time if they choose. But parents say 20 minutes is still not enough.

Recess has been a flashpoint nationwide as schools are under pressure to raise test scores. Recess advocates say physical activity can improve student achievement.

Montgomery County schools tend to offer 30-minute recesses, while Fairfax County recommends 20 minutes per day.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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