Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great Intentions/Bad Bill

While the goal of increasing the physical activity of our children to reduce childhood obesity is one upon which we all agree. The manner in which this issue is addressed in SB966 is most problematic.

Those who do not work in schools are not aware of just how jam-packed the school day is. If we provide the minimum of 150 minutes per week for physical activity we will have to take time away from other activities such as remediation, music, art and foreign language instruction unless we lengthen the school day.

To improve the health of our children, the envisioned physical activity should involve rigorous uninterrupted physical activity for at least thirty minutes. Especially for our older students, grades 5-8, the students will need to change before and shower afterwards. Locker rooms and showers are not present at most of our elementary schools.

The proponents of this bill advocate shifting P.E. instructional responsibility to the classroom teacher and away from the P. E. teachers. It is ironic that the experts in our schools in the realm of physical education will lose their jobs as this bill is implemented. We fear that music and art programs will be eliminated as well.

There are no inclement weather provisions in the bill, and for schools without gymnasiums, this is a problem.

If the state would share in the cost of implementing this state policy shift, by providing the state share of funding the facilities, lengthened day and additional teachers we would support it. But at this point, the
bill is a costly and unfunded mandate.

Please click on the link below to send a message to your delegate urging oppositions to SB966.