In a time when childhood obesity is on the rise, more and more states have started allowing students to waive taking physical education classes. The number of states allowing students to opt out of P.E. classes has risen from 27 to 36 percent since 2006, according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, or NASPE.
There is a long list of reasons that students can give for not taking a P.E. class. In some states, students can use cheerleading, marching band and interscholastic sports as a reason to receive a waiver from P.E. The number of states allowing students to sit out due to disabilities, religious reasons and health issues has risen from 18 to 30 since 2006, as well. There are more waivers received and granted in high schools than other school levels. The underlying reason for this increase in waivers is said to be a push to save money on a district wide level for schools. Some schools have even gone so far as to offer online physical education classes. This type of format combines the study of health and nutrition with students exercising on their own.
In the midst of the increasing trend of allowing students to opt out of P.E., the Des Moines school district in Iowa has taken the opposite approach. Instead of making it easier for students to avoid P.E., the Des Moines school district has made it harder. Rather than taking just one year of P.E. in high school, the Iowa law states that it must be taken all four years. Some exceptions are made for students that need to meet their graduation requirements with other classes, but that is reserved for upperclassmen. There are also some exceptions made for students that are participating in athletics.
Opting out of PE in order to save money for the school district can later result in great health concerns for the students involved. Obesity in children is increasing at an alarming rate, and one of the main causes of childhood obesity is lack of physical activity. In addition to health problems, obese students tend to suffer from low self-esteem and depression. Finding other ways to save money will prove much more beneficial to students, and schools, in the long run than allowing them to opt out of moving their bodies.
Via USA Today