Required P.E. class impedes worthwhile education


The Southerner

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Atlanta Public Schools currently re- quires students take one semester of health and two semesters of physical education to graduate. If you participate in a varsity sport for two years, you are then given the option to be exempt from one of the two required P.E. classes. This exemption is not enough; students should not have to complete any P.E. classes to graduate. P.E. wastes student’s time and yields few real benefits. No student should be forced to give up a class they are truly interested in for P.E

Many proponents of P.E. classes act like two semesters of physical activity is sufficient to undo obesity, but that is simply not the case.

Unlike P.E., health class is a unique opportunity to impart life-changing information to students and should be required. Sex education, food and nutrition, weight management and exercise, mental health issues, drugs, safety and first aid are only some of the many important topics taught to students in health class. This knowledge actually enables students to pursue healthy, happy lifestyles; squats and pushups every other day on a cold gymnasium floor do not.

Additionally, health class affords students the opportunity to acquire an ADAP (Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program) certificate which is required for a driver’s license. The only way to acquire this certificate is through P.E. or health.

In middle school, students take a semester of P.E. and health each year, but important information, for example drugs and sex, is not always covered in a way that could be more beneficial in high school rather than middle school. While learning health in middle school can help you, it would make more sense to go over it again after you have gotten more mature.

Many students take AP classes to prepare for college or get ahead on college credits, so if they could have an extra period to take an academic class, I believe they should be able to do so instead of wasting their time in P.E.

Sophomore Sophie Rivard had the same opinion. “It makes sense to have health required because you can’t learn that outside of school, but P.E. you can do on your own time.

In the end, health can be important, but sometimes it looks like it’s not worth it. I believe that if you are being taught important information then it makes sense for health to be required to graduate. Health can actually teach you skills you will need later in life. P.E., on the other hand, has turned into an easy A class where you can either skip or play around. Rather than wasting two semesters of sitting in the bleachers or at the Starbucks across the street, you should be able to take a class that you can benefit from and still be able to graduate.

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