Lawmakers Propose Package of Bills Seeking to Boost Physical Education Standards
Concerned that many California children are out of shape and at risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, three state lawmakers yesterday introduced a package of bills calling for strict physical education and fitness standards, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/3). At a press conference yesterday, Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch), joined by Sen. Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach) and Assembly member Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), said that physical education must be a top priority. Torlakson cited the results of Fitnessgram tests conducted in 2001, which found that only 23% of the state's fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders met minimum fitness requirements and 30% of those students were overweight. The first bill (SB 1868), introduced by Torlakson, would require the Fitnessgram results to be sent home and would require 11th- and 12th-graders who fail the exams to take physical education classes, "something they are not currently forced to do." Karnette's measure (SB 1597) would mandate that a school's physical fitness test results be added to its Academic Performance Index and "make a passing grade in that area necessary to become a state distinguished school." And Migden's bill (AB 1793) calls for the Board of Education to "set standards for physical education" and for the state to monitor schools' physical education instruction (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 4/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.