Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pressure to Perform Academically Results in PE Cuts in MN

Here's an excellent article on an issue that is very familiar to us all - pressure for students to perform academically resulting in less time and money for PE. Although this article is specific to Minnesota school districts, it's occurring all across the country.

Increased pressure to perform on academic tests is forcing state schools to cut physical education classes

WASHINGTON — After multiple layoffs, 30-year-old physical education teacher Ryan Weber has had a front-row seat in watching the decline of physical education in Minnesota schools.

Weber is out of work again as of Thursday after finishing a short-term stint in an Anoka summer program for special needs students

“Only 10 of the 25 people I graduated from college in physical education with are doing anything related to their degree because they can’t find jobs, kept getting cut and just can’t do it anymore,” Weber said.

Education providers are under increasing pressure to measure up on standardized tests, which means that many schools are trading school day hours for academics over physical education to ensure they will meet requirements to lock in funding.

It’s a trend that experts say threatens to undermine first lady Michelle Obama’s central initiative: a campaign aimed at improving the health of America’s youth, in part by expanding physical education and extracurricular activities.

As a result of repeated cuts in physical education across the state, teachers like Weber are looking for work while the waistlines of Minnesota students only get bigger.

“Over the last 10 years, schools have been under intense academic pressure to add more time in their school day for reading and math, and there is only so much time in the school day; time is finite,” said Charlie Kyte, executive director of Minnesota Association of School Administrators. “Physical education is what has been squeezed.”

Read the full story on the MinnPost website.

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