The anticipation of “report card day” is sometimes a dreadful experience for both parent and child. But when the United States receives a failing grade in one of the most essential disciplines of education — physical education (PE) — well, this is concerning at best.
On an importance scale of one to 10, Dr. Alberto Luchtan, M.D., a pediatrician practicing in South Florida for over 45 years, rates physical education a 20.
The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA), a nonprofit group based in Columbia, South Carolina, on Wednesday released its 2018 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children between the ages of six to 17 — and the overall grade is a D- (you read that right). Many children would find themselves grounded or at least on the receiving end of some very focused questioning and a remedial plan by concerned parents if they received such a grade in any subject.
This is the third such comprehensive assessment of physical activity the group has released for kids and young people in this country; it updates its first report card from 2014 and a second in 2016.
“While the overall physical activity grade for children and youth remained low at D-, the 2018 report card revealed positive signs, especially related to opportunities and infrastructure that supports physical activity in children and youth,” noted BusinessWire about the findings.
There are questions here. “Almost all school districts have policies requiring schools to meet the physical education needs of students with disabilities,” said the report — but why not all school districts?
And on this point — “More than 70 percent of school districts have a policy that requires undergraduate or graduate training in PE or a related field for newly hired staff who teach PE in elementary, middle school and high school” — but why isn’t that percentage higher?
For far too many students, PE can feel like forced family fun. It’s often been the class to ditch, the one to be avoided at all costs. But physical activity and education provide the young human body with numerous medical and psychological benefits. The heart is the most important muscle in the body, and without it, the other muscles have no purpose. Developing a healthy heart through activity allows young people to set themselves up for good health in the long term. Heart disease is the number-one killer among adults in the U.S.
So conditioning our kids …