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    In The News: And You Thought School Lunches Were A Hot Mess?

    coaching.tabata.-780835In a piece horribly — and misleadingly — titled “Mandatory P.E. class not enough to fight fat,” the Associated Press (via The San Francisco Chronicle) tells the pathetic tale of physical education programs in the United States.

    How pathetic?  Think decades-old equipment, mandatory physical education with no curriculums or assessment (meaning that, if the teacher sees fit, a physical education class can consist of a ping-pong game or a class of thirty students each taking two turns clearing a high jump bar), and spaces originally allocated to gyms that are instead used as cafeterias.

    Only Massachussetts and Illinois mandate “gym class” for students through twelfth grade, but “the state does not monitor schools to ensure they are meeting the daily P.E. requirement, and there are no penalties for not doing it. The Illinois General Assembly even gives waivers to districts that have financial issues or want more classroom time.”

    As with anything else, there is a severe need for prioritizing and accountability.

    Of course, educational reform is also a necessity, since the No Child Left Behind Act has essentially turned schools into testing centers, rather than educational instutions.

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    2 Comments

    1. susan said on July 3rd, 2009

      Gym class of ANY kind was a miserable nightmare for me when I was in school. I wasn’t particularly obese or anything — just not athletically inclined at ALL. I was awful at every single athletic activity we were forced to do in gym. I wish kids had the choice of opting out of regular gym and doing some sort of walking program or biking program instead. Gym class was the site of some of my worst humiliation in school.

    2. Andy Bellatti said on July 3rd, 2009

      Susan,

      I was on the same boat. Any time we played a team sport in class, I was ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) the last one picked. If given the choice, someone in a wheelchair who was half-blind and only had one arm would have been picked before me!

      That said, physical activity is important. Your idea of gym class (ie: a biking program) is wonderful… it takes away the humiliation aspect and still provides a way of exercise!

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