Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Before I begin, I would encourage you to read the article and the comments written from readers and Mathews himself. There is a lot of great insight going on, and Mathews does respond, keeping a relatively open mind and providing clarifying points when needed. He even admits when he makes a bad statement or compliments someone who proves him wrong.
The Healthy Schools Act would require, as Mathews writes, the following: "The new bill would require every public school student in kindergarten through fifth grade to have 150 minutes of P.E. (30 minutes a day). Sixth- through eighth-graders would be required to take 225 minutes (45 a day)."
These new physical education guidelines fit in with the guidelines set by the American Heart Association for most healthy people of at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. The 150 minutes per week also fits the guidelines set by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. AAHPERD consists of professionals involved in the fields of health education, physical education, fitness, recreation, sports and coaching, etc. The organization is a huge advocate for anything promoting health and fitness, and a great organization to be involved in.
Mathews argues that DC school children need to spend more time in the classroom due to underachieving test scores. However, physical education is important in learning. As pointed out on Ed Burke's The Slow Cook, many studies have been done showing that physical education classes can improve academic performance. This was drilled into our heads at Springfield as a way to advocate for our profession as physical or health educators. I won't repeat the stats from the other blog, but the information provided by Ed Burke is spot on.
The schools also provide a location for students to work out in gym class. Students living in urban areas may have difficulty finding space to play/exercise in or may not have the resources needed for programs that their suburban counterparts enjoy. The food section of the bill would serve local fruits and vegetables to elementary school students one to three times a week, depending on the season. Why is this a bad thing? This saves in fuel costs, contributes to the local economy, and will taste better too.
I'm not sure if Mathews understands the role of the coordinated school health program (CSHP) in education today. For basic information on the CSHP, see an earlier post I wrote last year. Ideally, a CSHP contains multiple parts working in conjunction with each other in order to help maintain healthy young people. Two critical portions of this model, physical education and food services, are positively affected by the proposed Healthy Schools Act. Hopefully, the other components are active in the DC schools as well.
Has Mathews spent time in a classroom with middle school students who simply need time to run around and burn off some energy? It can be very hard to control kids who have no outlet for their energy. I would prefer an odiferous, post-phys. ed class any day of the week over a class that has too much energy to handle. They're not focused if they have built up energy. I strive to set an example by my own physical activity, and I know in my district, the kids would be very upset if their physical education classes were cut.
Much of education has nothing to do with what students learn in classes they may not use in their entire life. This is the importance of physical education and health education: providing tools for a lifetime of healthy living. The long term, positive effects of this is for another post, but they are numerous.
My next post will have something to do with the classroom. Check back within the week!
As always, please leave comments telling me what you think. I, like Mathews, want to hear the whole side of the story.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
So, check back for updates!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Recommended Read: Health Is Academic: A Guide to Coordinated School Health Programs. Edited by Eva Marx and Susan Frelick Wooley with Daphne Northrop.
The content is based on the knowledge and experiences of teachers, principals, administrators, school board members, nurses, psychologists, counselors, and other health and education experts around the country. Top researches in the field wrote the chapters, and more than 300 professional educators reviewed them."
What I Say:
- focuses on key risks to health and learning
- receives support from students, family, friends, and adults within the school community
- draws on the thoughts and efforts of many disciplines, community groups, and agencies
- uses multiple programs or components
- provides staff development programs
- uses inclusive and broadly based program planning"
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I'm going to noodle around with the format a little bit and make sure it's something I like before I start writing enteries. I'm not sure how often I'll update, but check back soon! Feel free to send me an e-mail with any questions or comments.