HARTFORD, Conn. — State lawmakers, responding to a poor showing by students
taking the Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment, are considering legislation
that would require schools to provide students with more physical activity and
Only 35 percent of students taking the annual physical fitness test during the
2002-03 school year passed all four sections of the exam, according to the State
Department of Education. That’s virtually unchanged from a year ago and 4
percentage points lower than during the 1999-00 school year.
should be surprised? Students rarely break a sweat in gym. You can’t build
strength and endurance in
archery. What passes for physical education now includes disc golf, fencing,
horseshoes, bocci ball, archery, pickleball (similar to badminton and tennis),
hiking, self-defense, tumbling, in-line skating and dance. Running, push-ups and
sit-ups are rare. Schools need to re-focus on shaping
It’s also important to note that grade-school
activities like dodge ball, tag, kick ball, musical chairs, and relay games are
out. And, get this, some schools don’t want children jumping rope. A rope is
too tempting, some have said, to use as a weapon!
And people wonder why kids are out of shape!
"That statistic is very sad," state Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby,
said Monday. "It’s very unfortunate that in a state where people put so
much emphasis on our children being prepared for college or a career that
somehow their health has fallen through the cracks."
During the test, students are asked to walk or run a mile, perform as many
curl-ups and push-ups as they can and stretch as far as they can while in a
can they possibly do these when they rarely do them in gym class?
The test is given to fourth-, sixth-, eighth- and 10th-graders. It aims to
measure cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and upper body and muscle
strength, said Barbara Westwater, acting bureau chief of Curriculum and
Instruction for the state Department of Education.
Students pass the test if they meet certain benchmarks. A 9-year-old boy, for
example, should be able to do nine push ups, and a 9-year-old girl is expected
to do seven.
"There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement," Westwater said.
"What we have to recognize is that it’s not just about the physical
activity the children have in school, but it’s what they do throughout the
Klarides has introduced legislation that would mandate 20 minutes a day of
recess for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as a 20-minute
lunch with fruits, fruit juice, water and lowfat dairy products. The bill has
passed the House and is now headed to the Senate.
Experts dissatisfied with P.E. classes
By Colin Fly, Associated Press Writer via the Boston
January 17, 2005
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As American children grow fatter and more out of shape,
physical education classes are being found wanting. Experts say there’s little
accountability for P.E. teachers in most schools. They say the classes are often
poorly run, and students don’t spend much time in them anyway.
nice of them to finally notice.
Lisa Lewis, a health professor, heard her two sons talk about how bad their high
school P.E. class was, so she went to see for herself.
couldn’t do that at Scotia-Glenville. I
couldn’t even visit a noisy study hall in the cafeteria. Parents are
considered as disruptive to the "learning" environment.
"It’s been terrible," she said. The teacher was a basketball coach,
and "that’s basically all they did — play basketball between 40 and 50
kids." Many students, especially those who weren’t athletic, just stood on
the sidelines of the disorganized game.
Nearly one-fifth of all high school P.E. teachers don’t have a major and
certification in physical education, according to the most recent numbers from
the National Center for Education Statistics.
really cares? Any former Marine can run a P.E. class. Give me a break.
* * *
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2003, only 28
percent of high school students nationwide attended a daily P.E. class, but 38
percent watched television for three hours or more each school night.
While 71 percent of the nation’s freshmen were in P.E. at least one day a week
– hardly enough to be effective, experts say — those numbers drop to 40
percent by the students’ senior year.
But participation varies widely by state. In Tennessee, for instance, only 18
percent of seniors were enrolled in a P.E. class, while New York has better than
90 percent participation.
participation every other day doing what? You can call it P.E. class but if
students seldom break a sweat, what good is it? Thank God for Tae Kwon Do, where
my daughter did significant stretching, running, push-ups, jumping jacks and
other exercises, on top of discipline and character building martial arts, on
top of lessons to obey and honor parents, work hard in school and keep her room
clean! You tell me why public schools can’t do it but private sector businesses
without certified teachers can.
Association for Sport and Physical Education says Illinois is the only state
that requires daily physical education K-12, while Alabama requires it for K-8.
In California, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Vermont,
accountability standards are being developed for health and physical education
"Unless we hold physical education teachers accountable for the fitness of
the student … there’s no way to evaluate who is good or who is bad because
we’re more concerned with math and reading," Lewis said. "There needs
to be some sort of minimal national fitness standard — that would be a very
easy thing to establish."
CDC and the President’s Council on Fitness and Sports have published fitness
standards for years. I wonder why the professionals haven’t been able to find
them? Or why they’ve ignored them? See this
Some schools have done just that — like the Victor Central School District just
outside Rochester in Victor, N.Y.
Superintendent Timothy J. McElheran said his teachers are held to specific goals
and judged like any math or science teacher would be.
"It’s no longer the coach with the whistle around his neck," he said.
"Our physical education teachers are highly trained professionals."
a goofball! As if a coach with a whistle is incapable of devising and executing
a program that includes stretching, strength building and a cardiovascular
I’ve got news for this superintendent: IT WAS THE HIGHLY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS
WHO TOOK THE FITNESS OUT OF P.E. IN THE FIRST PLACE. THEY DID IT TO BOOST THEIR
PROFESSIONAL STATUS BY MAKING P.E. MORE ACADEMIC. THEY DID IT IN THE NAME OF
LIFELONG FITNESS, WHICH THEY DEFINED, FOR MOST OF THE YEAR, AS ACTIVITIES NOT
Honestly, if it takes highly trained professionals to achieve fitness we have
surely declined into a society of helplessness and dependency. I don’t know how
our ancestors ever found the strength to climb down from their trees without the
help of highly trained professionals. Maybe they fell out of the trees and
that’s why we’re here.
Victor’s nationally recognized program includes rock-climbing, kayaking,
cross-country skiing, archery and aerobic dance as options for students.
it is, folks. Archery. Within this particular mix of P.E. activities, it might
be acceptable. But really, when students meet every other day for P.E., every
class has to have a cardiovascular workout.
Torrey Pines students roll strikes for credit
By Sherry Parmet / SAN
DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
November 13, 2004
CARMEL VALLEY â€“ One of this year’s newest PE offerings at Torrey Pines High
School is popular for obvious reasons: Students don’t have to suit up in gym
clothes, run laps, be big, tall or even athletic to land a spot on a team.
Bowling has lured more than 60 students, who say it’s the coolest alternative to
the widely despised gym classes.
"It’s such a chill class," said junior Taylor Yuhl. "It’s like
something I’d do on the weekends, so I don’t want to ditch."
* * *
A small but growing number of colleges offer full or partial scholarships for
bowlers, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Central Missouri State
Torrey Pines students must complete two years of physical education, which
includes one year of a traditional gym class for most teenagers. An
ever-increasing list of elective PE offerings fulfill the second year
requirement and includes such classes as skateboarding, surfing, racquetball and
Senior Kyle Wilson said because he enrolled in some rigorous Advanced Placement
classes this year, he wanted to lighten his load by adding bowling to the mix.
"It’s relax time," he said.
Many students say bowling is the first sport they have ever been good at.
And it’s nothing like gym class.
Taylor said, "We don’t have to run around a track, and we can get food if
we want while we’re playing."
A snack bar sells cheeseburgers, chili dogs, cheese sticks and deep fried
mushrooms. Although some students forgo the more fattening fare.
* * *
The class meets every other day from 10 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. and students provide
their own transportation to the bowling alley.
* * *
nice. I wonder how many overweight bowlers there are? I wonder how many can’t
run a 10-minute mile without being completely winded and exhausted. Middle and
high school students should be at the peak of their physical fitness. They
aren’t going to get there by having PE classes like bowling and archery.
Every PE class should qualify as a complete workout to achieve and
maintain top fitness. From Fitness
Fundamentals (Developed by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and
Here are the amounts of activity necessary for the average, healthy person to
maintain a minimum level of overall fitness. Included are some of the
popular exercises for each category.
WARMUP – 5-10 minutes of exercises such as walking, slow jogging, knee lifts,
arm circles or trunk rotations. Low intensity movements that stimulate
movements to be used in the activity can also be included in the warmup.
MUSCULAR STRENGTH – a minimum of two 20-minute sessions per week that include
exercises for all the major muscle groups. Lifting weights is the most
effective way to increase strength.
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE – at least three 30-minute sessions each week that include
exercises such as calisthenics, pushups, situps, pullups, and weight training
for all the major muscle groups.
CARDIORESPIRATORY ENDURANCE – at least three 20-minute bouts of continuous
aerobic (activity requiring oxygen) rhythmic exercise each week. Popular
aerobic conditioning activities include brisk walking, jogging, swimming,
cycling, rope-jumping, rowing, cross-country skiing, and some continuous
action games like racquetball and handball.
FLEXIBILITY – 10-12 minutes of daily stretching exercises performed slowly
without a bouncing motion. This can be included after a warmup or during a
COOL DOWN – a minimum of 5-10 minutes of slow walking, low-level exercise,
combined with stretching.
Folks, bowling is a "cool down" exercise. It should never be
the main exercise of a PE class. Schools are spending more and more money to
provide students with less fitness. It’s ridiculous. Stretching, situps, pushups
and running around the track produce better fitness at no additional cost to