Physical Education

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Got P.E.? Settlement Says Schools Must Prove They Provide It

Recess at Cox Academy in Oakland. (Jane Meredith Adams/EdSource)

Recess at Cox Academy in Oakland. (Jane Meredith Adams/EdSource)

By Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

As schools tout the importance of exercise in an era of childhood obesity, a California parent and his lawyer have agreed to a settlement with dozens of districts across California that will force elementary schools to prove they are providing at least the minimum amount of physical education required by state law.

Now there’s another lawsuit against Oakland Unified and other districts.

“We think it’s a huge accomplishment and it’s going to benefit public health in California,” said attorney Donald Driscoll, who represents Alameda parent Marc Babin and the advocacy group Cal200 in a 2013 lawsuit that alleges 37 school districts, including Los Angeles Unified, the largest district in the state, are out of compliance with state physical education law.

The districts, which educate more than 20 percent of elementary students grades 1 through 6 statewide, have agreed to a settlement that requires elementary school teachers to publicly document how many minutes of physical education students receive, according to lawyers involved in the case. Continue reading

Just One in Three Students Deemed “Fit” in State Evaluation

Among other issues, physical education programs and recess have been cut back in recent years because of budget cuts, (Getty Images)

Among other issues, physical education programs and recess have been cut back in recent years because of budget cuts, (Getty Images)

By Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Only one in three California students earned a “fit” rating in the annual physical fitness test given to more than 1 million fifth, seventh and ninth grade students, according to 2012-13 test results released Wednesday.

About 26 percent of fifth graders, 32 percent of seventh graders, and 37 percent of ninth graders scored in the “Healthy Fitness Zone,” a measure defined by the creators of the California Physical Fitness Test, for all six areas: aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility.

In the test, a 10-year-old boy, for example, would be evaluated on his ability to perform a minimum of 12 curl-ups and seven push-ups within a specified time and to run a mile as fast as possible, or run back and forth in a 20-meter distance for as long as possible. Students 13 and older are given the option of walking a mile as fast as possible. Continue reading