Save Our Children. The Decline of Physical Education.

     Today I wanted to share briefly some information I became aware of two weeks ago. I had a very informative meeting with an elementary school physical education teacher. I was shocked by what I had learned, and I am sure you will be too. I will not mention the school, nor the parish or county because I assure you that this is a national issue.

     Now I ask you to think, how much time during a week do children receive physical education? I initially thought they got approximately 30 minutes a day. You would think that is a fair amount of time, close to what I received growing up. I then thought okay maybe only three times a week. Again, I was wrong. Children at this particular school receive 35 minutes of physical education ONCE a WEEK. I was outraged to say the least. And a majority of this time is spent moving the children from a classroom setting to the field and back.

     Furthermore, I learned that children's grades in physical education are now solely based on objective testing and not physical achievements. The Presidential Physical Fitness Award, a program many of us undoubtedly participated in while going through elementary school, is no longer being used. The computer tests now used prompts students to answer such questions as the correct sequence of a hop or skip; however, this does not test their coordination of the activity.

     There needs to be a drastic increase in the amount of time children are receiving physical education. Children need to be educated how to properly use and maintain their body in order to live a long and healthy life; increasing the time spent on other subjects does not help a child who already lives a sedentary lifestyle. Yes, all education is important, but physical activity has proven to enhance the function of mind and body. If you are a parent or guardian and not demanding more time for physical education, you are adding to the current decline in our children's physical activity.

     It is time to speak out and make an actual change!

- Patrick Berner, SPT