The state’s minimum requirement for physical education in public
– 20 minutes a day – shouldn’t be hard to meet. Nevertheless,
both South County school districts fail to meet a report released
in early June by the California Department of Education.
The state’s minimum requirement for physical education in public elementary schools – 20 minutes a day – shouldn’t be hard to meet.
Nevertheless, both South County school districts fail to meet a report released in early June by the California Department of Education.
“We only had two schools that were found to not be doing the required 20 minutes,” declared Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Alan Nishino. “And we have several schools that are going above and beyond what is required in their programs.”
El Toro Elementary fifth graders, for example benefit from a whole “Wellness” program instituted by fifth-grade teachers Alice Packard and Jackie Lee. They use a Santa Clara County program, which not only focuses on exercise but also on nutrition, as their model and adapt it to the needs of their students.
We think this is good, but not good enough. The goal should be that all schools within districts meet the requirements.
It’s long past time that school districts did something about the growing and alarming childhood obesity epidemic. The simple fact is that encouraging kids to get active has physical and academic benefits.
We’re tired of the excuse that a focus on academics means that schools don’t have time for P.E. Study after study shows that physical education improves academic performance.
Helping them to find forms of exercise that they enjoy can help them slim down, improve their health and grow into active adults.
Twenty-three percent of Morgan Hill students are overweight. Gilroy has the highest percentage of overweight students in Santa Clara County at 31 percent.
Reaping the physical and academic benefits of P.E. doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to push out academics.
There’s no need to hire additional P.E. instructors. There’s no need to extend the school day.
In fact, with a little creativity, physical education dovetails nicely with math and science instruction. Students can track the minutes spent in P.E., can track results statistics, can study the benefits of P.E., and can even experiment with the results of exercise on heart rate and other systems.
“It’s a sad fact that P.E. is education’s ugly stepchild,” California Center for Public Health Advocacy Executive Director Harold Goldstein said in a press release. “P.E. doesn’t just help address our obesity crisis. When properly taught, physical education plays a vital role in positively affecting both the academic and behavioral performance of children, while building lifelong health habits.”
Let’s use our common sense and work together to get our students moving during the school day. The benefits are too many to ignore.