Student athletes should be required to take physical education classes like the rest of the school. The very important values that students learn through physical education classes are something that sports cannot teach. If schools do consider an exemption, they must decide what to include in their exemption status. The main role of a student is to learn during his time at school is to learn. Students that are exempt from physical education often do not have to fill the extra time in their schedule with any meaningful classes.
Until there is an effective way for students to gain the education outside of the classroom exemptions are hard to support. Once, one considers all the factors they will find that it is best for students to be required to take physical education classes. Physical education class’s requirements are changing to promote wellness over a lifetime something that a sport cannot achieve. “Classes and activities that provide physical activity (e. g. , marching band, ROTC, cheerleading, school and community sports) have important but distinctly different goals than physical education” (NASPE, 2006).
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If schools will provide any exemption what criteria do they have to base the exemption on? Does any extracurricular activity that requires any amount of exercise count for an exemption? Since sports are a voluntary activity students can also skip practices with little to no recourse. However, when a student takes physical education classes often attendance is part of what makes up the grade. It is important that every student is involved in learning the importance of physical activity throughout his or her life time. Although some of the school’s coaches may be physical education teachers not every sport is coached by them.
The students not coached within a physical education class by a physical education teacher will miss out on the goals of gym class. By requiring all students to take physical education schools can ensure they learn the importance of physical activity. If a student athlete is exempt from gym class for participation in sports school boards will be asked to consider other activities. Some schools already have provide exemption for activities other than sports. One school that has these exemptions is Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Their terms for exemption permit for other activities. It is recommended that the board adopt a policy pursuant to Sec. 3313. 603 (L) that will permit a CVCA student to fulfill the State of Ohio Department of Education physical education requirement by completing two full seasons of participation during high school in board-approved interscholastic athletics and/or marching band, including flag corps, and/or cheerleading” (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, 2011). The marching band and flag corps are not activities that students will take part in as a form of exercise throughout their lifetime.
If schools include marching band, flag corps, and cheerleading would they not consider team managers and score keepers. These are all groups that support the team rather than students on the team. Cuyahoga Valley provides an example of what schools will be asked to consider other than sports. While this provides a chance for exemption for more students this does them no favor. The activities that are being considered do not provide enough physical exercise to the participating students. Schools should take a more dedicated stance in favor of physical education instead of providing exemptions.
The more students that we allow to be exempt from physical education the large our nations problem with obesity will become. Physical education classes provide the opportunity to develop a variety of skills. When students play sports only a select group of skills are developed. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education suggestion instruction that includes “Instruction in a variety of motor skills that are designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social/emotional development of every child” (NASPE, 2003a).
The National Association for Sports and Physical Education has a membership that consists of educators and administrators. One of the main goals of the organization is to improve and support high standards in physical education. Their definition shows that Physical education develops more than just the body. It is important that students also have the opportunity to develop emotional and social skills gained through physical education classes. If the students do not receive these skills it can have a negative effect over their lifetime.
Students exempt from physical education classes will often have the opportunity to have another study hall. A study hall is a time during school when students who do not have required class in that time period go for that time frame. When I was a student I had many study halls during my high school career. My school did not offer any exception for playing sports the only study halls I had were after all the graduation requirements were met. I had a great deal of time to see firsthand what students do with this extra time.
There were a few students that used his time to complete his assignments for the day. Most students used study hall as a social hour to catch up with friends or a place to copy answers for assignments due later in the day. A student’s time would be better spent in environment in which he is challenged to expand his mind. The message that a school sends when exempting a student is a negative message about the importance of physical education. When a school exempts students from a class it undermines the curriculum to the students who are required to take the class.
Physical education is an important part a student’s education. The skills that students learn in physical education classes cannot be learned through sports. When schools exempt athletes from physical education, they will be requested to consider other activities that have some physical activity. If schools do not provide exemption for these other activities it will be seen as unfair. The students exempt from physical education will also miss out on the opportunity to develop social skills that physical education classes promote.
What is the benefit to the students education by allowing exemption from a class? References National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2006a). Opposing Substitution and Waiver/Exemptions For Required Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. (2011). PE Exemption. Retrieved from http://www. cvcaroyals. org/site. cfm/Academics/Curriculum/PE-Exemption. cfm National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2003a). What Constitutes a Quality Physical Education Program. Reston, VA: Author.
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