You Earned a Ticket!

Which school do you want to support?

Lesson 6.9

P.E. and Athletics:
Are They Really Necessary?

Your school cut P.E., too? Be concerned.

hero image

School plays a big role in the transition to adulthood. Teaching kids about the benefits of nutrition and exercise gives them lifelong skills to improve their health, give them more energy, and improve concentration. All of the above support performance academically in core subjects as well as psychologically in everyday life.

Physical Education can provide benefits in three main areas: Physical health, Academic Performance and Psycho / Social interaction. Childhood physical activity and fitness patterns often persist into adulthood, as do many disease risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Physically active people need (and make) fewer visits to physicians, have lower hospital usage, and require less medical attention overall than less active individuals. To the extent that PE courses help students develop habits of physical activity, they contribute to a healthier, less costly American population.

Does your school provide kids enough PE time? Here are the state requirements:

  • Elementary grades 1-6, minimum of 200 minutes each ten days
  • Secondary grades 7-12, minimum of 400 minutes each ten days
  • Elementary school districts grades 1-8, minimum of 200 minutes each ten days

The intent of these Education Code policies is to have daily physical education available in all grade levels and the equivalent of two years of physical education required for high school.

Across the U.S. few schools offer daily PE classes (From Active Living Research Fall 2007 Research Brief, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)

Active Living Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports research to examine how environments and policies influence active living for children. According to their research, sacrificing physical education for classroom time does not improve academic performance. On the contrary, students who had increased time in school-based physical activity either maintained or improved their grades. And their scores on standardized achievement tests also improved, even though they received less classroom instructional time than students in control groups.

From Active Living Research Fall 2007 Research Brief, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In the following short clip John Ratey, author of the popular book Spark describes research suggesting that cardiovascular fitness improves mental fitness:

Sports and Recess

Organized, competitive sports are not a feature of all schools, and school budget pressures are causing unknown numbers of schools to drop their sports programs. This is a loss. In an article on the subject, education journalist Jay Mathews features a study by Mathematica Policy Research that shows "although math had the biggest impact of any skill on later earnings, playing sports and having a leadership role in high school also were significant factors."

'...although math had the biggest impact of any skill on later earnings, playing sports and having a leadership role in high school also were significant factors.'

In order to make more of the school day and mitigate the chaos and conflicts of recess times, some schools have opted to add structure to recess. For example, Playworks.org is a national non-profit organization that offers a structured recess program.

The Institute of Medicine serves as an adviser on health issues to the National Academy of Sciences. In a 2013 brief, the Institute recommends both state and local policies to assure that physical activity is more effectively integrated into school programs.

Physical activity plays an important role in reducing anxiety, depression and tension, and has positive effects on the emotional status of students of all ages. Physical activity also increases self-esteem and perceived competence - elements that enable us to cope with mental stress.

Next Steps

Here are some resources to help your school develop physical health in your schools:

Review

Schools differ in the amount of time and focus they commit to organized physical activity such as P.E. or organized sports. According to the research cited in this lesson, which ONE of the following is true?

Answer the question correctly and earn a ticket.
Learn More

Questions & Comments

To comment or reply, please sign in .

user avatar
Albert Stroberg May 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm
The increase in frequency of ADD boys and decrease in recess play time is no coincidence. Play time for <8th graders is a necessity, but why is a PE teacher required? The play time itself appears to be therapeutic.
user avatar
debs2frogs April 28, 2015 at 3:49 pm
CNUSD in Riverside County - the teachers provide P.E., some teachers provide the required and then some. Some teachers do the bare minimum.
user avatar
Carol Kocivar - Ed100 February 18, 2015 at 1:24 pm
Does your school provide kids enough PE time? Take a look at the state requirements:
The physical education minutes required are:
Elementary grades 1-6, minimum of 200 minutes each ten days
Secondary grades 7-12, minimum of 400 minutes each ten days
Elementary school districts grades 1-8, minimum of 200 minutes each ten days
The intent of these Education Code sections is to have daily physical education available in all grade levels and the equivalent of two years of physical education required for high school
You can see the state policies on PE at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ms/po/policy99-03-june1999.asp
user avatar
jenfornal February 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm
I am curious to find out if other elementary schools raise funds to provide PE instruction or if the teachers themselves provide the required 200 minutes of PE instruction every two weeks required by the state?
user avatar
Carol Kocivar - Ed100 October 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm
A study published in Pediatrics ( Oct. 2014) boosts the research on the importance of physical activity and academic performance. Among the conclusions:
"Specifically, policies that reduce or replace PA opportunities during the school day (eg, recess), in an attempt to increase academic achievement, may have unintended effects. Indeed, the current data not only provide causal evidence for the beneficial effects of PA on cognitive and brain health, but they warrant modification of contemporary educational policies and practices, and indicate that youth should receive more daily PA opportunities."
"Given that health factors (physical inactivity, excess adiposity) have been related to absenteeism, the findings herein indicate that increased time spent engaging in PA improves both physical and brain health, which has broad public health implications for effective functioning across the lifespan.
"The randomized controlled trial, designed to meet daily physical activity recommendations, used behavioral and electrophysiological measures of brain function to demonstrate enhanced attentional inhibition and cognitive flexibility among prepubertal children."
You can find the report here:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/4/e1063.full.html
©2003-2017 Jeff Camp
design by SimpleSend, build by modern interface

Sharing is caring!

Password Reset

Change your mind? Sign In.

Search all lesson and blog content here.

Sign In

Not a member? Join now.

or via email

Share via Email

Join Ed100

Already Joined Ed100? Sign In.

or via email