What has caused Physical Education to be too easy and why it is a problem
A few weeks ago, I saw a movie trailer that made me think about my physical education experiences in the past. While thinking about these experiences, there was one thing that they all had in common, the lack of intensity.
When I stumbled across the trailer for a documentary about the La Sierra High School Physical Education classes, I was blown away by the intensity of the classes. To give you a little context, back in 1957 the La Sierra gym classes were some of the most intense in the nation. Everyone began to see this and copy the curriculum in order to get their students into shape. Even John F Kennedy looked to these classes as a reference for his Great National Effort. This came at a time where most of the American population was more fit than they are now. I couldn’t help but try some of the workouts being done in the videos, and I was surprised that I couldn’t do many of them. It came as a surprise to me, a nationally ranked rock climber who considers himself pretty fit, that I wasn’t able to do these workouts. After more thought, I have come to the conclusion that this can be attributed to three things: lack of funding, lower standards, and unhealthier kids.
With the recent budget cuts throughout the nation, education has been recieving less and less money on which to run schools for more and more kids in a more expensive age. Many schools have been forced to face reality and cut programs that have been deemed “unnecessary” like art classes, music departments, and in some cases sports programs and gym classes. Unlike many art classes which can be taken outside of school, P.E. class can’t really be made up and many kids will not partake in physical activities unless prompted to.
The second reason is that the standards of gym class have been lowered. When I took gym class freshman year, in order to get an A you only had to be able to do 35 Sit-Ups in a minute, and run a mile in 10 minutes. These are incredibly low standards, and I think that the people from La Sierre High School would be ashamed to see. I also think that another standard that is really low is the fact that you only have to take one semester of gym class in high school. Personally I think that you should have to take it once a year and that the standards should be higher so that people actually have to try in gym class and will take it more seriously if they want to keep their grades up. I also believe the standards should be higher because in order to be a healthy person you need to challenge your body and mind and the schools should promote that.
The last reason that the gym class has become too easy is that we have had to lower standards to accommodate people who do not take care of themselves. America is one of the most obese countries in the world, and it stems from out poor physical education system. If you look at other countries that are ahead of us, you will notice that they have better physical education systems and they also promote healthy eating more than we do in the united states.
With those three problems in mind there are a lot of things that we should worry about. The first thing is that we are having to pay more and more money for people to recieve care for their healthcare problems that stem from their unhealthy eating habits. Another thing we should be worried about is that in the event of war, we would not have a population that would be fit for duty. Lastly, we should be worried about the fact that people’s self esteem would go down since they wouldn’t feel good about themselves. Due to these concerns, we should consider upping the standards of gym class in order to better prepare our children for the world. In doing so, we should look to La Sierra High School for a curriculum that will challenge our students.