Oregon’s PE Push

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boygirlplayFrom Your Health Journal…..A great article by Susan Nielsen in the Oregonian entitled Oregon’s big plan for PE greatness takes a back seat. In 2007, concerned over childhood obesity, Oregon wanted to become a national leader in physical education. Oregon’s lack of progress on its ambitious PE goals, evident in new state data, is one more sign of the widening gap between the state’s aspirations and its capacity to deliver on them. But, everything seemed to stall, and PE did not get’s it due. The average elementary-school student in Oregon got only about 70 minutes of PE a week last school year, or less than 15 minutes a day, less than the state mandate of 150 weekly minutes for their age group. Middle schoolers fared better at about 144 minutes per week on average, but fell short of the future 225-minute weekly mandate for students their age. Sadly, instead of increasing PE time, many district cut it out of the curriculum. This was a very interesting article, and I wanted to share it with all of you and promote it here. Please visit the Oregonian web site (link provided below) to view the complete article.”

From the article…..

In 2007, driven by concerns over childhood obesity, Oregon vowed to become a national leader in physical education. The apparent plan to meet that goal is to run furiously in place.

Oregon’s lack of progress on its ambitious PE goals, evident in new state data, is one more sign of the widening gap between the state’s aspirations and its capacity to deliver on them.

“The failure to move the dial on PE,” says Otto Schell, legislative advocate for the Oregon PTA, “is symptomatic of a lot of things.”

The Legislature passed a sweeping PE law in 2007 that would, by 2017, require K-8 students to dramatically increase their time spent exercising at school. Though the mandate came with minimal money attached, the rationale was that with a decade’s notice, school districts could hire the PE teachers, find the indoor exercise space and get students moving.

The idea sounded great by itself, says Mark Mulvihill, a superintendent from eastern Oregon who sits on the state education investment board. The trouble at the local level comes when new ideas join a growing pile of other big ideas without clear plans to implement or pay for them.

Today, school districts squeezed by inadequate funding and rising pension costs have made no progress toward their deadline. According to data finalized last week by the Oregon Department of Education, the average elementary-school student in Oregon got only about 70 minutes of PE a week last school year, or less than 15 minutes a day. That’s less than half the coming state mandate of 150 weekly minutes for their age group.

Middle schoolers fared better at about 144 minutes per week on average, but they still fell short of the future 225-minute weekly mandate for students their age.

Quantity of PE isn’t the only problem. So is quality, says the state in its latest PE progress report. Many districts have cut PE teachers from their elementary schools, requiring regular classroom teachers to teach PE (to large classes, along with their other duties) without the needed equipment or training.

To read the complete article…..Click here

PE Class Changes In Alabama Stress Student Health

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From Your Health Journal…..”I can always count on the publication SF Gate to have some quality articles on health or wellness. I encourage all of you to visit their page (link below) to read some quality article. Today’s article review discusses Alabama, and it change to a new fitness assessment test. The prevalence rate of obesity in Alabama is higher than the rest of the nation, for both adults and children, so the state decided to move to a newer test, replacing the President’s Challenges test. Though the individual students’ results will be treated as confidential information, both parents and students will receive the assessment results. The PE teachers will report the results annually, which should eventually allow for comparisons to see whether the fitter children perhaps have higher test scores. PE teachers received training in how to test the kids, but videos that demonstrate the exercises used in the assessment are on the state Department of Education’s website. Articles like this stress the importance PE plays in the schools not only for health or fitness, but for improving cognitive skills and self esteem of children. With the obesity rates so high in the United States, it is important to support your local PE department, as well as trying to get the children daily, quality PE each day. Please visit the SF Gate page to read more.”

From the article…..

Alabama’s public school students are taking part in a new physical fitness assessment this year, replacing a series of tests that had not been updated since their parents were in school.

Citing a need to refocus on the fitness of the state’s children, the new Alabama Physical Fitness Assessment rolled out this fall in public schools. The tests are required for all students in grades 2 through 12 and replace the old President’s Challenge Fitness Test, which was adopted in 1984.

The new assessment has been in the works since 2010, when federal stimulus money started flowing to the states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded grant money to the Alabama Department of Public Health, which used the money to partner with the Alabama State Department of Education to try to improve the quality of physical education in the state, said Laurie Eldridge-Auffant, public health education manager for the ADPH.

“Our prevalence rate of obesity is higher than the rest of the nation, for both adults and children,” Eldridge-Auffant said. “We have some other indicators that let us know we have many chronic diseases that are above the national average.”

Though the individual students’ results will be treated as confidential information, both parents and students will receive the assessment results. The PE teachers will report the results annually, which should eventually allow for comparisons to see whether the fitter children perhaps have higher test scores.

“We’re excited about the potential data down the road,” Eldridge-Auffant said. “We know from the research that the kids who are more physically fit and more physically active have better academic scores.”

But those comparisons will be some time away. For now, the teachers are finishing up the pre-testing on the kids. Post-testing will begin in March.

The new assessment measures four areas: Aerobic cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, abdominal strength and endurance and flexibility.

PE teachers received training in how to test the kids, but videos that demonstrate the exercises used in the assessment are on the state Department of Education’s website. The exercises include a partial curl-up (like an abdominal crunch); a timed one-mile run/walk test (the child can walk the whole way if necessary); and a 90-degree push-up (as many as the child can do in two minutes.)

To read the full article…..Click here