Los Angeles Times Urges Schools to Broaden Physical Education to Promote Healthier Children
Discussing data recently released by the state showing that 80% of the California's fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders failed to meet the state's minimum fitness standards in testing last spring, a Los Angeles Times editorial states that schools are both "part of the problem and offer part of the solution." The state's "severe budget reductions" 20 years ago led to a decline in physical education classes. The editorial says that when greater funding was restored, state lawmakers and local school districts emphasized improving academics by reducing class sizes and better instruction. "On many campuses, students cannot romp freely because the playgrounds are studded with portable classrooms to reduce overcrowding," while some gym classes now serve 80 or more students, the editorial says, adding that principals need to place a greater emphasis on physical education and instruction and to expand athletic after-school programs. The editorial also urges adults to "coach organized activities in neighborhoods where parents lack the time, money and expertise to pull together" youth sports leagues. The editorial concludes, "It's heartening that California schools are sprinting ahead, trying hard to meet the raised academic test standards. Now parents, educators and communities need to remind themselves that brains work better when supported by well-tuned hearts and lungs" (Los Angeles Times, 12/15).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.