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There Is No Physical Education in Schools

Updated on October 12, 2012

Obesity- America's heavy weight problem. If you have kids or have had kids, you know doubt have heard horror stories about the lack of P.E. that exists from K-12 grades. By horror stories, I mean, simply the lack of it or what that call physical education.

Up until the 90's, most schools and most state laws mandated that grades 7-12 have students have daily PE classes lasting one hour. I know I did in middle school, had PE daily in 2nd period (how inconvenient, after being at school for only one hour, have to undress for PE clothes and then redress) and in high school the same applied, daily PE classes.

What has happened? Many high schools have zero PE classes, others, have PE classes a few times week. A study of San Francisco schools found that only 20% met the state's minimum of (this requirement I am about to state is shocking) 20 minutes a day! Wow! Some California schools in LA have no PE teachers and\or no gym. Some schools with hundreds of kids provide PE once a week led not by PE teachers but aides earning $15 hr. In most cases, if it rains, PE is canceled. Many high schools across America provide PE classes once or twice a week.

Even the state guidelines are reflective of the pathetic outlook. New York state is representative of what many other states have for PE. Grades K through 3, must have PE daily, then, for grades 4-6, three times a week totaling two hours. For grades 7-8, 90 minutes a week and for grades 9-12, PE three times a week for one semester, and two times, for the second semester. In California, middle school students must have 200 minutes every 10 days. When reading the law for California high schools, there is legalese that makes the whole issue confusing for there are exemptions.

It seems that the older the student is, the state deems PE is less important. Couple this with the junk food that tweens\teens eat for lunch, it does not take a rocket scientist to see why there is an obesity problem. In California, middle schoolers must run the mile under 12 minutes and have other thresholds to meet but if they fail in meeting them, they do not fail PE, they are just told to try harder. Basically, grades are meaningless. That is not how it was when I was in middle school.

The whole PE class in middle school and high school seems to have far less importance than other courses. Classes are infrequent, what they actually do in the PE class is a whole other matter. Do they really do anything that burns calories or just casually play some sport. The size of PE classes in high school are large, often numbering from 40-60 students to control.


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