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 Post subject: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 5:09 pm 
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From the Boston Globe:<P><B>PHYS-ED CLASSES ARE OUT, ACADEMICS IN</B><P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Grappling with budget constraints and the pressure of MCAS, some Massachusetts schools have cut back physical education so drastically that many programs are little more than token gestures, according to a statewide group of physical education teachers.<P><BR>As the nation wages war on childhood obesity, some schools no longer have physical education in certain grades, says the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/029/metro/Phys_ed_classes_are_out_academics_in+.shtml" TARGET=_blank><B>MORE</B></A><P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 6:53 pm 
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Oh please.<P>I REMEMBER the "transition" from "recess" to PE.<P>Vividly. I was NOT happy.<P>We played kick ball (the ONLY sport my little legs were good at)or jumped rope incessantly at recess, UNTIL the Kennedy administration.<P>Then us little elementary kids were moved indoors for part of the time to exercise to his "Chicken Fat" (Remember THAT one? "Go you chicken fat go AWAY. Yes, Go, you Chicken fat, GO!) record. And had to participate in "organized" sports activities on the other days. Whether we liked them or NOT. (I was terrified of softball, since I had been hit in the temple TWICE with a pitched ball.)<P>The ones that were good at them and would have been inclined toward doing them ANYWAY were happy. The rest of us were miserable.<P>Where lots of us had just been running in play, all of a sudden, we had to run for "endurance".<P>The standards have gotten increasingly strenuous every year. My youngest made "Presidential" in PE every YEAR until 10th grade when the "run" got longer and was supposed to be quicker. She is very short. Little legs just couldn't do it. But the dancer could do more pull ups, etc than most. Just couldn't get the "seal" 'cause of the run.<P>I think it's all stupid. The PE thing. Dancers get enough outside of school. And lots of kids would get enough normal exercise if they were just allowed to do "free play".<P>But, the PE depts need lots of students to support those teachers now. They can't just coach the kids that are interested and inclined that way, like they used to. Not enough of them. So they make Everybody take PE.<P>

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'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.'<P>Lady Jane Grey<BR>Wife of Guildford, Lord Dudley King Consort<BR>Daughter of Henry Grey Marquis of Dorset, Duke of Suffolk


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:04 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I, on the other hand, enjoyed PE very much. I learned some useful skills. In fact it was the very first time I got to move to music at all. We did a tap dance (with our sneakers on LOL.) <P>We also learned some exercises on the horse, and to climb a rope, and exercises on the rings. I just loved the few times we got to play softball - we could only do that when the boys were away so we could use the equipment. This was in the days before girls were treated equally. Yes, it was a public school in a major city, Philadelphia.<P>We also go to play basketball. One of my favorites was volley ball and to this day I enjoy watching that in the Olympics. Relay races were lots of fun. We didn't have a swimming pool, but it seems to me that every child should be taught to swim. That's not only good exercise, but also could be a lifesaving skill for oneself and for others. I also remember playing field hockey.<P>So, I wouldn't say it was a waste of time for us.


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:15 pm 
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Dance? Ropes?<P>You and I obviously aren't the same age group.<P>Kennedy's plan for Physical Fitness didn't encompass ANY of that stuff.<P>It was boring as heck and took away the incentive to just play and use up energy that most of us had previously, but definitely encouraged those that wanted to be competitive.<P>My oldest hated PE. The youngest didn't MIND it. And I'm glad that both of my girls learned the "rules" to sports. They can enjoy watching a game with their boyfriends. I never could (and still can't and won't). But most of THAT was accomplished by the end of middle school through intra mural sports. They are VERY inquisitive at that age, and want to sample EVERYTHING.<P>By high school they kinda KNOW how "physical" they "wannabe".<P>But I think in elem. and middle school that they should be able to "play" and in high school offer that stuff for those that are "interested". Of course when you DO that, the PE teacher might ALSO have to teach an academic class Image<P>[This message has been edited by JaneGrey (edited January 29, 2001).]<P>[This message has been edited by JaneGrey (edited January 29, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by JaneGrey (edited January 29, 2001).]

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'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.'<P>Lady Jane Grey<BR>Wife of Guildford, Lord Dudley King Consort<BR>Daughter of Henry Grey Marquis of Dorset, Duke of Suffolk


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:17 pm 
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I HATE PE. IT IS TORTURE IN ITS WORST FORM. All the little people in their little black shorts and white t-shirts, running the 3 mile every day just because the FAT teacher wants to watch us while he sits there with Oprah and his twinkies. Yes, I am dead serious. Jumping jacks? Suicides? WHY? I'm in 8th grade, I can decide on my own whether I want to be fit and keep in shape and be active or not, and everyone else my age should be able to as well. If PE was a person in our school, he would be gone the first day. We all hate it. It's not because of "Mr.Soap Oprah," its because most of us do enough outside of school that it is totally unnecessary for us to have to go through this... what a waste of an hour every school day! geez. Sorry to change the mood of this "PE is good" thread, but its not as far as those of us who are taking it are concerned. Yes, I think academics are more important (at least for me and most of my friends) than PE. Give us science, math, english, health, music, language, anything. Just keep me out of PE, please. Go MCAS and Massachusetts (ok, so I already liked MA, I'll admit it)<BR>-ZoeBear Image


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:59 pm 
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Zoe, when I was your age I didn't care for PE much either. I didn't really like team sports, but I did enjoy things like gymnastics. I wish I had been able to do more gymnastics, that's a skill that really comes in handy as a dancer! Other things like sprinting will also come in handy. Most of the professional dancers I know are also good athletes. You need a lot of strength and coordination. Some of the stuff that you hate in PE can be used to your advantage if you make a game out of it, just figure out what will make you a better dancer and go for it! Image<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 9:35 pm 
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I personally don't like the way PE is taught generally, but I still have a problem. Look around you folks, obesity is a big problem, in kids and adults. On the national news last night, they reported that diabetes went up 48% in the five year period 1995-2000 in the US, caused by being overweight and not exercising. TRULY SCARY! Imagine the health care costs, now and in the future. I think we have to look for alternatives to traditional PE for kids....martial arts, walking, biking, dance, whatever. Traditional PE may not be the answer, but twinkies, video games and McDonalds are NOT wonderful options. And although we'd like to think that we "can exercise on our own", we all know about the rowing machine, total gym and barbells gathering dust in our basement!!(I'm talking to the adults in the audience there!!) Sometimes we need a class, or group activity to motivate us to "get it in gear"!!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited January 29, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 11:41 pm 
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My experience with PE has been mixed, but at the end of the day I'm pretty convinced physical activity has a place in public education. <P>Spare the hypocrisy though - P.E. teachers should be able to walk the fitness walk, and make gym class as worthwhile as the best book class - not just be there to bark orders from behind a big belly and a whistle (just one example of the sort of P.E. I don't dig I know not all crummy P.E. teachers are um, not spry anymore). <P>I do think there are exceptional educators at work on the gym floors and fields of the U.S. (the only place I have any experience), though I'm sure some things have changed since I was in school. In a way I wish I'd had a dance teacher to teach me everything physical, because it was through dance I really woke up physically. I'm probably better at sports now than I was when I was doing them in high school because of a greater and (hopefully) safer awareness of my body.<P>Maybe if a Grace or Miss Chrissy or Basheva or someone else with that dance teacher eye and way of describing had been there for P.E. all the exercises would have worked out better.


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:54 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><I>WHY? I'm in 8th grade, I can decide on my own whether I want to be fit and keep in shape and be active or not,</I><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Zoe, with all due respect, at the age of 14, you're able to decide whether you <I>want</I> to be fit, but you're not likely to be either mature enough or knowledgeable enough to decide whether you <I>need</I> to be.<P>Jeff, who wasn't fit in 8th grade and isn't fit now. . . .

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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 6:57 am 
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I think, like most everything else, it is how the activity is presented is it not?<P>I remember PE teachers barking orders (though this was waaaaaaaaaaay before Orprah), and there was regimentation that we resented. However, on the whole as I look back on it, we did learn some skills, and it was a good idea. <P>I enjoyed the gymnastics skills (rings, rope and horse) and the game skills. Oh - yes - forgot the mats - tumbling etc. We also learned to be on a team, and help one another by "spotting" for our teammates on the different pieces of equipment. <P>In San Diego schools it is possible if one is a dance student (or gymnastics, etc.) and one takes enough outside classes to have this officially substitute for regular PE classes. When I was teaching I regularly had several ballet students who were able to do this - and I had to submit a grade and attendance records for these children.<P>And in our society obesity, diabetes and heart disease are real problems, and exercise is part of the solution.


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 12:03 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
North Americans could learn a lot from Asians and Scandanavians. In the park near where I live I always see people well over the age of 60 doing tai chi. Scandanavians live longer because they incorporate physical activities into their lives on a daily basis, like walking or riding their bikes--they don't think bikes are just for kids. <P>When I was a kid we played outside after school, kids don't do that anymore; they mostly watch tv and play computer games.<P>PE seems to be equated with competition, but I think that's a state of mind that we need to move beyond. We set kids up for an awful experience by suggesting that only the kids who are physically talented will enjoy themselves. Kids *are* competitive, cruel and horrid to each other--but taking away the physical activity that they need will not make life better for them. <P>Kids should be taught that they don't have to be triathaletes to enjoy fitness, and that exercise, a mood elevator (you know that feeling you get after dance class), will make them feel better.<P>Admittedly, I stopped doing PE in Grade 10 because my school allowed me to substitute dance but my classmates continued until their senior year. Why do you think they talk about the Freshman 15 in the U.S.? It's because people go away to school and become sedentary, gain weight and then try to figure out how they got high blood pressure or had a stroke--the list goes on--by the time they were in their 40s. What a waste when all you need to do is 20-30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week. My mother is battling arthritis right now, which may not have come upon her so suddenly if she had taken the time to exercise over the past 30 years. But she always had a reason as to why she didn't want to or couldn't find the time. I would have traded a lot of lunches and ironed clothes for her physical health. I'm getting off topic, but the point is, people need to develop fitness habits in school the same way they need to develop good study habits because your ability to process information is not going to be of much use to you when your heart gives up the ghost from inactivity. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:13 pm 
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First of all, I love Zoe's impassioned response. It's everything I love about spirited kids who see through the bullsh__ of some so-called grown-ups and their so-called wisdom. I'm with you, Zoe. That oaf should walk the walk if he's gonna talk the talk.<P>Second, I went to Catholic parochial school for grade school and high school. We did not have PE in grade school, but instead had recess in the a.m. and p.m. along with plenty of time in the gym or playground after lunch. I fondly remember plenty of inventive hi-jinks as we ran off steam. As for learning about sports, etc., I grew up in an area with an excellent public school system. We got, either for free, or a nominal fee, day camp (including bus transportation practically door to door) with counselors and lots of activities at one of the public grade schools. Also during my grade school years, I was transported by bus from my doorstop to the public high school where I went from beginner to advanced swimmer the summer I was 10, and also took gymnastics.<P>In high school, we had to take PE (for 2 years) and it was a joke. Stupid, archaic, etc., etc. This was before it was mandated that public schools offer equal sports opportunities to girls, although it would not have made much difference at a Catholic school. When I was a sophomore, some senior girls joined, independently, a city league for baseball and basketball, and I was one of the younger recruits. I loved letting off steam in the middle of the week. (I hadn't begun formal study of dance -- not til 18). I also rode my bike with anyone who would join me on weekends, but not many could keep up with my pace for 5-10 miles on weekends. <P>We had a very big yard for 10 kids, including a basketball court, so we always had impromptu games of basketball, baseball and badminton. Also stuff like keep-away, etc.<P>I don't think I missed anything by not having PE (except for those 2 hideous years in high school). I'm talking about the way it was taught, and apparently still is in many places.<P>My fiance's son has PE in grade school. He can't tell me one thing they do in that class, but it's the one he always gets an "A" in. This child is so chubby and weak (they live in their grandparents' home because of his late hours as a nurse and grandma insists on stuffing the child with the same 'sedentary' food that she eats), that he does not have the stomach muscles to actually sit up in a chair. No big deal. He looks like at least every other kid in Louisiana, and if he fits in, what's my problem with it? (This is THE attitude here.) This child is going to grow up to be the same kind of overweight patient that has caused my fiance to undergo a hernia operation and back problems, despite being in excellent shape himself (no, he cannot get the child to follow suit -- not even to participate in non-threatening, non-competitive activities), because he routinely has to lift these people at the hospital where he works. <P>We have these two 'wonderful' advice columnists in the U.S.: Ann Landers and Dear Abby. Every week, someone writes to them about the problems with obesity in this country, such as nurses getting injured from dealing with these types of patients, or travelers being just about sat on top of in the plane next to obese individuals. These two dunderheads get on their high horse about how much overweight Americans need our sympathy and understanding -- i.e., 'We have more than we need in this country and don't know how to control ourselves and don't want to be accountable for our actions, so please pity us.' <P>I'll tell you who is the minority in this country: slim people. Except they're supposed to shut their mouths about it. <P>PE is not the answer. If it were, we wouldn't be in this state. Thank you, Zoe, for calling a spade a spade.


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:24 pm 
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Location: neworleans, louisiana
One more thought about why so many children are overweight in this country:<P>It was mentioned that children are opting to sit in front of computers or video games or tv. The thing is -- I and my brothers and sisters had so many responsibilities -- WORK!!!! -- that when we weren't doing that, we couldn't wait to play. Play, meaning just that. Running, jumping, chasing, laughing, exploring, etc. <P>If other kids had three paper routes in one family, had to dust and vacuum, wash, wax and buff floors, scrub toilets, sinks, tubs and tile, clean windows, mow lawn, trim shrubs, rake leaves, do dishes, clean stoves, ovens, refrigerators, unload and put groceries away, wash, fold and iron clothes, babysit younger children by reading to them, feeding them, taking them for walks to the beach, putting on plays for them, etc., etc., -- not to mention homework and music practice, then maybe they would be more inclined to take advantage of playtime when they could get it. <P>The thought of my being a child who had little else to do but sit in front of a screen with artificial stimulation is incongruous to me.<p>[This message has been edited by Christina (edited January 30, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:27 pm 
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The real question here is whether many schools will let students take dance or some dance-like activity for PE credit. I HATED PE because I too was afraid of the ball in sports, and I don't think I should have been made to suffer for it. However, from eighth grade on I got to take Colorguard (you know, those girls who spin flags with the marching band?), which had some dance component, instead of PE. And we colorguard dance girls ended up a lot healthier than the kids in regular PE. I remember every presidential testing period we would kick butt in the mile run because dance had, to our surprise, built up our cardiovascular endurance. Adn we could do more sit-ups and stretch further.<P>At my high school you could also take straight dance class for PE, and you didn't have to audition for that as for colorguard, cheerleading, etc. But to my understanding this is not common. Many schools don't offer the dance substitute. In those cases, I don't seeing the scaling back of PE as a loss. But I think the answer is not to scale back PE, but offer a wide variety of physical exercise choices, including dance.


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 Post subject: Re: The War for Education Dollars - Academics vs Phys Ed/Dan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:56 pm 
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So, it seems to me, that what we are saying here as a group is that we think that physical activity is necessary and a good thing, but that PE is not doing the job. That it is dull. Am I understanding this correctly?<P>How then (she bravely asked), if you were a school administrator would you change it? Realistically - not what dreams are made of - but what reality consists of. With the materials at hand - the funds available - what would you do?


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