Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

States Letting Students Opt Out of P.E.

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-I-ever-really-needed-to-know-I-learned-in-kickball dept.

Education 18

A school district in Des Moines, Iowa has joined a nationwide trend by allowing students to opt out of physical education classes. 32 states now allow kids to waive or substitute gym classes. Paula Kun, a spokeswoman for the National Association for Sport and Physical Education says: "Unfortunately, so many schools are having more and more waivers — particularly at the high school level. The great majority of high school students are required to take physical education only one year out of the four. They get out for religious reasons, for ROTC, for marching band. There's a whole slew of waiver possibilities."

cancel ×

18 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Outrage! (2)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34678802)

Where the hell else are kids going to be active if not when they are locked up in school all day!

Giving Credit... (1)

dave2miller (1966256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679508)

Sounds like the Des Moines school is actually going against the trend, not with it.

Depends on why. (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679654)

Ummm, if they're opting out to be in ROTC or Marching Band, I kinda think that's a valid substitute. If the goal is the get them into physical activities, I don't see how substituting physically strenuous activities for other physical activities is a problem. Unless you really think learning the fundamentals of badmitton is that important.

Re:Depends on why. (2)

barrtender (1930830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34681420)

That's what I thought when I read this. When I was in High School we could get out of PE if we were in sports for that season. Personally I know that Cross Country, Basketball, then Track were much more physical exercise than PE. It looks like the article may have totally missed the point of PE though...

Re:Depends on why. (1)

Wingfield (872389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697658)

A lot of the problem with this mentality is that it is P.E., Physical EDUCATION. At my high school (c/o '08) the focus was only half physical activity, but the rest was spent in a classroom setting, learning about various aspects of physical and emotional health, learning about everything from nutrition to healthy relationships. That's the aspect that will be missing, and frankly, I think it's horrible that students are allowed to miss so much. We were only required to have one year, and most of us did PE our freshman year and didn't do anything for the next three. I loved that we only had to do it for one year while I was in high school, but in retrospect I wish I had been required to have more credits. You would be surprised just how many people, especially in my generation, have no concept of proper nutrition.

Re:Depends on why. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34745376)

They need to stop wasting precious education resources and time on things that have nothing to do with being educated. If the point of school was to "produce a well rounded human being", they they would stress things like critical thinking and true civics comprehensions and teach kids about things like taxes. Since we have limited resources, how about we focus on things that will matter to producing productive human beings? I'm getting up there in my age and I can assure you that while I wrestled for a dozen years (outside of school, mind you), at no point in my life did anything from PE class ever have any remote bearing on my life even the tiniest fucking bit. At no point in my entire career (or my life, for that matter), has the experience of sitting on a tiny little square scotter with four wheels on it in the gym and tossing a soft nerf ball back and forth or playing HORSE ever given me any sort of advantage whatsoever.

It's a cheap class to staff which fills up some time so they can bill the state for having your ass in class. It's a lot cheaper to find and afford someone who teaches kids how to play with a frisbee for an hour than it is to find a qualified history, civics, science, or math teacher and offer additional *EDUCATIONAL* opportunities to students.

P.E. is a joke. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679904)

PE is a joke. If the statistics on youth obesity are to be taken at face value, then clearly 50 years of P.E. is simply a failure at making a difference. If a person does not have an active lifestyle, forcing them to play sports with other people who are way outside of their skill set and physical capabilities isn't going to encourage them.

Personally, I'm not buying the obesity epidemic propaganda. Maybe living in California means that people tend to be thinner, but when I drive past schools, or are in environments where there are a lot of minors, I simply don't see many of the fat kids everyone keeps talking about. I see a few, but that has always been the case.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#34680292)

+1 Not only is P.E. a joke but it is an excuse for miserable, unhappy PE teachers to beat up on and insult their students. The answer to the problem lies in getting rid of the coziness of the FDA and Archer Daniels Midlands of America. For too long America's food industry has been allowed to sell us foods with added preservatives and chemicals under the guise of being nutritious but actually can be poisonous. Take, for example, nutrisweet, it breaks down to formaldehyde in the blood stream. But corporate America will tell you it's harmless. Let's attack the cause of obesidy no overweight people.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#34680296)

I had a gym teacher that was the real life foil to Billy Bob Thornton's character, Mr. Woodcock. An evil, condescending, smallish man.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34693592)

"PE is a joke. If the statistics on youth obesity are to be taken at face value"

Uh, the statistics on youth obesity have a lot more to do with shitty school and home meals than they do PE. PE participation might not even have changed that much in the last 50 years.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34696492)

4 Things About Obesity:
There's no exercise in P.E. [msn.com]
The more your parents force you to "eat right" the more obese you get - I can't find the link again but will hunt on request.
You can eat almost nothing but Big Macs and soda and be healthy [wikipedia.org] .
Viruses might be at least partly responsible for obesity [aolhealth.com] . One thing interesting is how quickly the paediatrician dismisses the study and gets back on the no-TV, soda, active lifestyle message. If it was going the other way, she'd not likely be criticising the small sample size.


Simple result. Obesity = Input Food - Output Exercise. It does not matter if you eat only Cheetos and Coke, or you eat organic food, if you exercise 400 minutes a day or 0. What matters is that you have equal amounts. You naturally have circuits that cause you to eat the right amount and to exercise the right amount. The problem is that parents force their children to eat whole plates of food at specified times, so they get more energy than they need. Next, parents and schools don't let them run around and fidget enough, so they don't get enough exercise. My parents, being wonderful that they are, did not do either. The result is that I eat maybe half as much as the average American, don't really exercise, but am not obese. I exercise not on a schedule, but when my body says so. I eat when I hungry - so I go to dinner at some random time, eat lunch randomly, snack, etc. A lot of energy is used to make food, and because I eat less, I'm green as a result ;).

Diet and exercise is like bleeding with leeches. Just today, I heard that a program was in place for diet and exercise to mitigate neuropathy, and virtually everything under the sun. Diet and exercise won't cure obesity, like it won't cure stomach ulcers, which are now known bacterial. The problem with diet and exercise is that if it fails, well obviously the answer is just more diet and exercise. Plus, it allows one to blame the patient if it fails, and to create a whole subculture of people who hate and discriminate against sick people. The fix for obesity will be to find a pill or other mod that lowers peoples' overfeeding tolerance. Then obesity will be gone for good. Or maybe we can just implant a fuel cell to eat up all the excess blood sugar. Either way, it's in the hands of bioengineers and scientists, not P.E teachers and the First Lady.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702532)

Your post is at best intellectual fraud and at worst will actually harm people.
1) Your assertion that this is a problem for bio engineers and scientists implies that until then we do nothing. We simply sit on our hands and cheer on the people in this situation who have control. The scientists. In one fell swoop you turn an entire demographic into powerless victims
2) Point number 3 is brilliantly worded , by using the terms might be and partly at the same time they abdicate any responsibility for the contents of that article being complete horseshit.
3)At one point you compare fidgeting to actual organized sport.
4) Because you don't really exercise but aren't really obese doesn't mean you are healthy, not at all... so you have managed to achieve skinny and unfit. How novel for you. The benefits of exercise have been proven thousands of times in thousands of studies. As have the benefits of eating well, there is a more balanced brain chemistry, nicer skin tone, better memory, ad infinitum
5)To insinuate that parents forcing their children to eat a plate of food has caused the absolutely staggering rise in childhood obesity is akin to claiming that that leaving your freezer open will cure global warming.
6) Diet and exercise is not akin to bleeding with leeches, it is the start of a healthy lifestyle and just might save someones child's life. To counsel against it is the very heart of arrogance and indifference. It may not "save" a child's life but it sure might give them a life worth living.
7)At another point in this bomb you compare obesity and stomach ulcers, bravely showing a lack of understanding between both cause and effect and physiology.
8) During your post you repeatedly insinuate that a lack of obesity is an indication of health. It.Is.Not.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772028)

Your post is at best intellectual fraud and at worst will actually harm people.

It's not fraud because I don't stand to make any money. I should have stated that I am not a doctor or medical professional, and will do so in any further post about the matter.

1) Your assertion that this is a problem for bio engineers and scientists implies that until then we do nothing. We simply sit on our hands and cheer on the people in this situation who have control. The scientists. In one fell swoop you turn an entire demographic into powerless victims

Better than turning them into an evil, piggish group to be hated. Some are definitely powerless victims. Some may be able to escape. It won't be easy, and technology will solve the problem long before to social change people get off their asses.

3)At one point you compare fidgeting to actual organized sport.

That's the point of number 1. Think about a football game for a minute. Most of the time the players are standing still (while the clock is stopped, etc.) or on the bench. Now watch children run around. Which one do you think is more active?

4) Because you don't really exercise but aren't really obese doesn't mean you are healthy, not at all... so you have managed to achieve skinny and unfit. How novel for you. The benefits of exercise have been proven thousands of times in thousands of studies. As have the benefits of eating well, there is a more balanced brain chemistry, nicer skin tone, better memory, ad infinitum

It depends on how you define healthy. I define healthy as feeling good. If skinny and unfit = feeling good, then it is healthy. Eating well (whatever that means) could mean that you have more of those "ad infinitium" items. I don't care about my skin tone, or my brain chemistry (whatever that means), and my memory is fine. So I don't need to change.

5)To insinuate that parents forcing their children to eat a plate of food has caused the absolutely staggering rise in childhood obesity is akin to claiming that that leaving your freezer open will cure global warming.

Here's the article [reuters.com] . I was wrong about it. But I think it should be studied.

6) Diet and exercise is not akin to bleeding with leeches, it is the start of a healthy lifestyle and just might save someones child's life. To counsel against it is the very heart of arrogance and indifference. It may not "save" a child's life but it sure might give them a life worth living.

First, it may or may not be akin. My unhealthy lifestyle is fine for me, and most healthy lifestyles to me are not a life worth living.

7)At another point in this bomb you compare obesity and stomach ulcers, bravely showing a lack of understanding between both cause and effect and physiology.

I never, ever, attempted to compared stomach ulcers and obesity. What I attempted to compare was people's thinking about stomach ulcers and obesity.

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34778842)

Your item 1 is beyond offensive, relying on science to solve this issue shows an underlying misunderstanding of this issue and the social ills it drags along with it.
Because we can make someone thin doesn't mean we can make them healthy. Because we can regulate the storage of fat or sugar in a patients body doesn't mean we can cause an entire generation of people to care about themselves. We are talking about our bodies, we only get one, for our whole lives. The assertion that we should treat it with less than complete respect and regard is not just just damaging to bodies, but psyche's as well.
Secondly, what is this, grade 6 "it depends how you define healthy" ummm. no.
Healthy is defined as the absence of imperfection, disease or impairment. for everyone, everywhere, at all times. We do not decide what the definition is. "
If you have never lived a healthy lifestyle because you find them distasteful, you have nothing to compare your current frame of reference to. Having never been healthy, you wouldn't know what you are missing, which is probably a blessing for you.

 

Re:P.E. is a joke. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34745470)

PE really is a joke. I think that sports and physical "play time" isn't the role of school -- especially not when we're strapped for meaningful educational time and resources as it is. However, I recall back when I was in school and PE was an absolute joke. They did things like play dodgeball (which I guess they don't do anymore?). Or a game where you sat on a little square boar with tiny wheels and scooted your ass around the gym on it, playing some sissy nerf ball game. Or, at its most strenuous, playing games of HORSE.

PE is filler. When the school can't afford or doesn't care to provide students with more actual education (of infinitely greater value), they fill it with PE. Kind of the same way video game developers pad short games with lots of "collect 800 flags for an achievement!" filler.

Kids should have a chance to grow up healthy so when they become an adult, they aren't already at a great disadvantage in life. No doubt about that. But schools should be about EDUCATION. Who the fuck cares if you can play HORSE or skip rope, if you can't name the first ten amendments to the constitution and you only know David Copperfield as a magician who dates some model?

Anyone who thinks that PE helps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34685534)

Anyone who thinks that PE helps with obesity is deluding themselves.

Modern PE is nothing but a GPA booster for kids who are barely passing the academic subjects. It doesn't teach kids anything about diet, nutrition, or how to maintain a healthy weight, or why a healthy weight is important at all. It doesn't teach kids about how to exercise (jogging, aerobics, power walking, etc) in any practical way.

The kids are pushed out onto a sports field and told the rules of whatever sport it is this month. They're shown some "drills" to repeat for a week and then assigned to a "team." As long as they show up and stand around, they'll get a 'B'. If they run around a little and maybe pretend to play, they get an 'A'. Next quarter they rotate the kinds from basketball to soccer to volleyball or whatever's next. A hundred kids supervised by one instructor, who wanted to be a bigshot professional sports agent in college.

The guy leading yoga at LA Fitness knows more about physical education than your average PE teacher.

Moar fat kids? (1)

Archeleus (1840908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34696238)

If not for P.E, then then kids who don't want to do it in the first place will never play a game outside or know the smell of fresh air. I firmly believe that everyone must do P.E, except for medical reasons.

PEs of Iowa Unite! (1)

hrdo (1558935) | more than 3 years ago | (#34703210)

I thought P.E. was short for "professional engineer". I suppose the two meanings of the abbreviation are sorta mutually exclusive - engineers would probably opt out of the kind of P.E. discussed here and those excelling in this type of P.E. would probably never pass the other kind of P.E., the kind that would make you attach those very letters to your business card... Maybe I should have P.E. attached to my card as well - although I've never taken a P.E. exam... blabla :-) Time for another coke!
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?