Physical Education is Important for All Grades
Nov 19, 2020
Physical education should be required for every grade and state in the United States.
“Covid-19 is not the pandemic that is coursing through our nation, but the rapid increase in the percentage of people in our country with depression, anxiety, heart disease, cancers due to obesity. Obesity as a whole has been shown to parallel directly with the increase of sedentary habits, the rise of the age of tech, ease of access to foods that are bad for you, and the increased amount of school systems that have been shutting down and limiting physical education programs” (Munday 2020). About 1 in 3 American children are obese. Could this be from the lack of physical education or unhealthy eating habits? Many schools have replaced the unhealthy foods and drinks in their vending machines and cafeteria to hopefully solve the issue of obesity in our children. Physical education provides exercise for the students. Some people believe physical education is a waste of time and their child could be doing something other than running around. Having physical activity can improve the mental and physical health of all people in the long run. Why are states excluding these activities from the lives of our children if there is such a great benefit?
There is a controversy that physical education does not provide any weight on college applications. Students rather take advanced placement classes that look good on their college applications than take any physical education classes. Having physical education can prolong a healthier lifestyle, which is something a single advanced placement class cannot provide.
Some people also believe these classes are a waste of time because they are not learning anything. It is thought that physical education class is “downtime with no physical activity” as well as activities such as yoga are “not enjoyable and do not keep students fit” (Song 2013). By increasing the student's participation and teaching units, more students will be engaged in the curriculum. Physical education has “reduced or dropped across the country” (Britt 2019). In York, Pennsylvania, subjects such as art, music, and physical education have been dropped from the curriculum. Illinois has a new state law that only requires its students to participate in physical education classes three days a week instead of five. This allows for those participating in interscholastic or extracurricular sports to be exempt from physical education in school. Finally, Oregon public schools have taken out art and physical education. As a result, many teachers have walked away from their positions. Only thirty-three states require students' physical education in elementary school. Forty-four states require physical education classes in high school. Physical activity provides an excellent source of stress relief. School officials “blame the lack of physical education” so they can “focus on improving standardized test scores” (Britt 2019). The main source of schools taking away these subjects is reduced funding for the schools. According to the National Education Association, most states invested less money in schools K-12 than in 2008, even though there has been a one million increase in students across the country.
If physical education is taught correctly, it can increase the physical and mental health of the students. “Today, we live in a world where Physical Activity, Physical Education, and Physical Literacy are all on the back burner at every age. Throughout a person’s life, there are 4 critical stages of development where neuroplasticity, the process of myelination, and Brain Maturation is at an all-time high (or is Accelerated). These 4 stages of critical development happen between 15 and 24 months, 6 to 8 y/o, 10 to 12 y/o, and around the age of 18.
It has been proven that if Physical activity/Discovery and activation of different senses/movements is not a part of daily routine or consistent habit generations to come will be more densely diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and Obesity” (Munday 2020). Play is important for the health of the children. Children learn through play. Some things such as responsibility, respect, and teamwork are learned through play. These morals and ethical values can be better taught with the interaction of sports. Not only can we be active during school but we can be active outside of school. The problem with giving students the responsibility to be active outside of school is their attention may not be on sports or physical activity. Around 90% of all American children play video games. These games have consumed the lives of our children, also promoting negative interactions. Not all games are bad but some games have negative influences. Parents with “fidgety children” know how hard it is to keep them still for multiple hours in school (Britt 2019). Little to no physical activity can stir up weak or poor academic achievement.
If physical education is not prioritized then it should not be something we focus on. President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 funds “core academic subjects” to help improve national test scores (Pothamsetty 2019). This forced states to cut physical education and art classes. People have reported negative and uncomfortable experiences in locker rooms and the physical activities they were put through in school. Advanced placement classes are what colleges look for when reviewing applications. Seeing physical education does not stand out or tell the college anything about what they academically know. This is the reason students ignore physical education and focus on core academic subjects. Students rather set themselves up for the future than focus on their health.
Physical education/activity is not the end all be all to stop the ongoing increases of these issues and diseases we are seeing, but it is the gateway to bettering the lives of our youth which directly impacts the success of our youth as they move into adulthood and develop the full capacity of decision making (Munday 2020). Physical education should be required for every grade and every state. Being active can prolong health and can influence a healthy lifestyle. The reason obesity is a problem is people's unhealthy eating habits and the lack of physical activity. Physical education is not prioritized, but it should be because it can affect the mental and physical health of children. Some children do not find interest in being active or playing sports, but how can we keep our children healthy? Budget cuts have made it hard to continue subjects such as art, music, and physical education especially when there is a one million increase in students. We should take more consideration in how we approach health for our children. An estimate of three-hundred-thousand people dies every year in the United States due to complications with obesity. What can we do to ensure our children stay active and healthy? If physical education is not provided for your child's school, then promote physical activity at home or enroll your child in sports.
Britt, Robert Roy. “Why PE Should Be Required from Kindergarten to College.” Medium,
Munday, Brianna, and Brian Munday. “How Important Is Physical Education in the Lives of Students?” 18 Nov. 2020.
Song, Christopher. “Physical Education Should Be a Mandatory Class for All Four Years of High