Creative Tutors of McKinney, Texas« Let Them Drink Water: Our Children and the Caffeine Culture :: TAKS vs. STAAR »
All across the country cash strapped school district officials are seeking ways to cut costs. Instead of looking for savings in wasteful programs, union defined expenses, and more cost effective means of operations, cuts are being made in programs that are not deemed "important". Translation...if there is no perceived academic benefit to a program...if there are no test scores to point to showing how a program improves the academic performance of district students...then it is ripe for pruning. We've seen Arts Education, Kindergarten, and Special Education programs being eliminated. It is far easier for district officials to delete the "fluff" from their programs than to make hard choices about truly effective ways to lower costs and improve curriculum. And, since in many cases these cuts are largely ignored by parents and teachers alike (except for those few directly impacted of course), this route to cost savings is often the path of least resistance. This trend would likely have continued had some districts not turned a greedy eye towards the sacred cow...physical education and the athletic programs it feeds.
At a time when the Federal Government is mandating what types of food may and may not be served on campuses across the country in an effort to cut down on childhood obesity, it is difficult to believe that physical education...the left hand of the problem, would be on the short list of nearly extinct curriculum. And yet, in California nearly half of the school districts have made cuts to physical education programs. This has led to at least one parent taking action by suing their East Albany school district for not offering the required physical education program mandated by the state. The California Education Code requires 200 hours of physical education for every ten school days for elementary students. Although a trial judge originally ruled that the Education Code was advisory and not required; the Court of Appeal ruled 3-0 to overturn this decision. While this case may have had more to do with the potential to see future cuts that would affect athletic programs than the ways in which physical education enhances a child's education...I am glad to see at least one parent...and one court standing up to say enough is enough.
Children cannot be educated in academics alone! It is the responsibility of school districts to find a way to educate our children to think creatively; to socialize effectively; to learn to win...and lose graciously; to embrace the differences of their peers; and to have time to be children...and just play. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure that they do.