Viewpoint

Chess offers many educational benefits

February 21, 2013 

California’s public schools have experienced deep cuts in funding since 2007. Unfortunately, San Luis Coastal Unified School District has a significant deficit.

With so many impending cuts, it’s on everyone’s mind how to help our students. I believe one way to help our students is to offer chess in the school curriculum. Art, music, and sports are on the decline because of these serious budget cuts. While these programs are extremely important and we should continue to fight for them, we must find a way to keep our kids moving forward in their love of learning. I do believe that chess can help offset some of these hard losses.

Chess in the classroom would improve learning and academic successes. Studies show it helps students with their memory and concentration. It teaches independence and develops logical thinking. Research has shown that kids who play chess regularly have higher test results when it comes to math and reading. Chess forces you to make decisions based on your own judgment and knowledge. Chess inspires and creates self-motivation.

Chess equipment is a fraction of what it costs to run other programs. Introducing chess equipment to a classroom is a one-time set-up cost, and it’s very affordable. Teachers would be able to pull resources offline for free and pass a wealth of information on to their students. We also have local volunteers who would gladly go into the classroom and help teach chess for free. For children who want to continue learning the game outside the classroom, they can tap into local resources by going to http://www.slochess.com.

Some people are going to complain there is not enough time in the day to add chess into the curriculum; However, I have to disagree. Students need to have more than their core classes offered. Having these extra activities keeps them interested in going to school and learning more. That is exactly what we want for our students: for them to have a love of learning. Chess is a universal game that knows no race, age, language, or social standings. Chess can improve schoolwork and it’s very fun for children. It will benefit all the students in our school district!

I hope that we can all come together and see the benefits of offering our children chess. When so much has been taken from them, and so little is needed to give them back some of their joy, it seems like a win. Schools test results will rise and children will learn how to improve their skills, both off and on the board. I believe this is a good solution to our budget cuts and I hope you believe this too. I encourage the San Luis Coastal School District to consider this request and place it on the agenda for the next board meeting.

Isaac Ruddell is a seventh grade student at California Virtual Academies and proud member of the San Luis Obispo Chess Club.

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