Legislation Would Increase PE Requirements for Students

By: Patrick Claybon Email
By: Patrick Claybon Email

A bill introduced into the Alabama Legislature would increase the required amount of physical education for students in Alabama.

It's something most of us take for granted. Kids get plenty of exercise, but apparently that could soon change.

Bill 83 intends to have students spend more of their time taking part in physical activity, presumably to confront the growing issue of childhood obesity.

While everyone agrees exercise is good, some question the funding of the program.

Houston Co. Schools Superintendent Tim Pitchford asked, "Are we gonna’ have larger math and elementary classes cut out; music education in order to fund the extra P.E Teachers to teach this?"

Dr. Kenneth Hatfield, with Geneva Co. Health Services said, "We're trying to encourage more P.E programs, not only at School Patrick, but at home as well. A society fails at home because we have more video games to watch and everything."

Kristy Drake has been a physical education teacher for 11 years, spending time in Georgia where students were only required to have one session of P.E. per week. And, she has seen the difference in Alabama. "I think the kids are in better shape,” she says. “I think they have better fitness because they didn't see us enough. If they have a structured program, I think it will help; of course it will help."

And, for someone like Superintendent Pitchford who takes time to work out three times a week, it's a great idea, but without funding, he fears it could negatively affect other aspects of education.

According to the state legislature’s website, the bill is pending a third reading after a favorable rating from the Education Policy Committee.

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