Changes proposed for Idaho school physical education requirements
The Idaho State Board of Education initially approved a proposal at a meeting in Pocatello Thursday night. It could mean more physical education requirements for all grade levels in Idaho.
The plan would require an hour of physical education each week for elementary students. Middle schoolers would need at least 220 minutes per week, and high school students would need to earn 2 P.E. credits to graduate. One of those credits could come from after school sports.
According to Melissa McGrath of the Idaho State Department of Education, these numbers came from research done with the American Heart Association.
"We know it is not only a health benefit to students in their early life and later in life. We know it also helps them academically to perform better in math and reading," McGrath said.
Some local school administrators say requirements are best decided by each district.
"I hope that they let us make those kind of decisions at our local level. That's why we have a school board; that's why we have so much input from our communities," said Dr. Chuck Shackett, superintendent of Bonneville School District.
Shelley School District already requires PE credits for high schoolers, and offers 30 minutes of PE per week for elementary students. If that time was to double, it would have a cost attached to it.
"If that required a certificated teacher from that requirement, we are talking about adding at least 2 PE teachers to our district, and that is considerable expense," said Bryan Jolley, superintendent of Shelley School District.
"We would need to re-adjust our schedules, because I don't believe we have the time right now," said MichaeLena Hix, director of curriculum at Bonneville School District.
There are also other ways for students to get their heart rates up during the day.
"I think recess in some ways even as valuable as regular PE class. Those kids are out there on the swings, creating their own play, getting the movement that they need and they come back energized," said Jolley.
The school board is open to public comment, and if approved, the changes would go in affect for the class of 2019.
The proposal also would require CPR training for high school students. The state board is open to public comment beginning next week.
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