With the widespread prevalence of diseases among the youth that are caused by childhood obesity, one would think that the public education systems in this country would put a high priority on physical education.
According to a August 2015 report published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the last 30 years. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) also reported that almost a quarter million American youths under the age of 20 were diabetic in 2012.
These facts from the CDC and NDEP cannot be disputed. So why is it that public school systems are eradicating the presence of physical education, which is a preventative activity that can save children’s lives? This kind of educational malfeasance is on full display right in the heart of the nation’s capital.
According to The Washington Post, a vast majority of the institutions in the D.C. public school district are not engaging in mandated physical education requirements. “I think it’s in line with what’s happening nationally with the focus in urban areas on the achievement gap,” said Donna Anthony in her interview with The Post.
Anthony is the assistant superintendent of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). “Folks are focused more on reading and math, and so physical education and health education and recess can get squeezed as a result by some very well-intended people,” Anthony continued.
The OSSE requires students K-5 to have 150 minutes a week of physical education and 225 minutes a week for grades 6-8. High school students are not required to have any minutes of physical education on a weekly basis, which is very much the case nationwide.
Anthony also told The Post that she believes the critical job should be getting students active, not worrying about the time frames in which they engage in activity.
“As long as we’re getting kids physically active, that’s what should matter the most, not when those minutes are happening,” Anthony also said. “We should be leveraging after-school programs and encouraging and incentivizing athletics participation across the District,” she continued.