Time for phys ed?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 12:55 pm by

Over the weekend the Albany Times Union got around to reporting on a State Comptroller’s audit released back in December on school district compliance with physical education mandates.

It noted that 19 of 20 districts studied in the audit were not providing enough time for physical education to satisfy the requirements of regulations adopted in 1982.

Responding to the audit, one local district wrote, “The fact that 95 percent of your statewide audit sample did not meet the 1982 regulations implies the regulations need to be re-evaluated.  Elementary phys ed regulations lack the flexibility districts need in order to meet both phys ed requirements and ever-higher standards and expectations for students’ English and math achievement in particular.”

The TU noted, “The district asked why a teaching assistant, being supervised by a certified teacher, can give lessons in English, math, science and other subjects but not physical education.  ‘We face the very real possibility that we could be forced to cut regular classroom teachers while hiring more phy ed teachers – an option that could anger many parents and residents,’ the administrators wrote.

Reacting to various legislative proposals for new instructional mandates, we typically note that time is the most precious commodity for schools and that mandating more time for any topic necessitates schools spending less time on something else.  This inescapable mathematical reality does elude many people.

Today’s Times Union has an editorial which faults schools for “skimping on gym,” but to the author’s credit,  it also recommends that the state take a fresh look at its mandates.

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