Time for a change

The P.E. graduation requirement should only be one year to make room for academic courses

Students already have enough to cram in their schedules— from their visual art to foreign language classes to electives they will actually enjoy . A two-year Physical Education requirement only puts unnecessary strain on students’ already complicated scheduling decision without being effective in promoting an active lifestyle.

The California Department of Education requires that high school students take two years of P.E., claiming that P.E. courses enable students to “to lead a physically active lifestyle.” However, if allowing students to lead a healthy lifestyle were truly the goal, wouldn’t a four year requirement be more suitable? It seems like the two year requirement is a failed compromise to students who have packed schedules, as it still manages to inconvenience students and fails to effectively promote healthy living habits.

The majority of students do not take P.E. looking to learn about healthy living; they take the class to fulfill their requirements. From what I remember, freshman P.E. was somewhat intense; I broke a sweat everyday I had it.

However, the second year of P.E. from what I have heard does not seem to be nearly as intense or physically demanding, as evidenced by the existence of a class which revolves around badminton. Sure, students get the opportunity to be active by playing sports they enjoy like basketball or soccer, but it should not be required that students sacrifice potential class time for it.

Additionally, most P.E. classes just make you run; they don’t teach about setting a regular exercise regimen or healthy eating habits, both of which are key components to a healthy lifestyle

The P.E. requirement should not be eliminated entirely; staying active is still very important and should be encouraged by the school in someway without interfering with students’ academics. One year of P.E. should be sufficient in preparing for the state mandated fitness test. It will do all the promotion of fitness necessary during freshman year, where students are not taking a history class which would occupy yet another scheduling slot.

I remember having a tough decision to make between freshman or sophomore year: I needed to decide whether to drop a P.E. class or Spanish 4. I didn’t have enough room for both because I wanted to continue to take Journalism. Not only did I not want to take a zero period, but it wasn’t even an option because I had no way of getting to school that early.

I ended up not taking a P.E. class my sophomore year and taking Spanish 4 instead, as I didn’t want to take a break in between spanish classes. P.E. would have to wait for the summer, or junior year, or senior year, or wherever I could squeeze it in the least inconveniently.

The two year P.E. requirement almost jeopardized my taking of an elective that I wanted to take or interrupted my foreign language pathway, both of which I consider more important than taking a P.E. class. I was willing to sacrifice part of my summer and fork up 550 bucks to avoid that by taking P.E. over the summer, but I am sure many students encounter the same predicament and do not have that option.