High School P. E. Requirements

Should physical education be required in public high schools? If so, why? How many semesters should be required?

The education industry is suppose to produce a well rounded individual. Part of being a well rounded person is being physically fit. Obesity is a growing problem here in the states and we should try to change that.


I do believe that physical education should be required, but to a certain degree. A one year requirement is adequate, and any more classes beyond that would be elective. MGibson is correct in his idea that being reasonably fit is part of being a well-rounded person–and healthier, to boot, yet, I do not want this fear of a “fat America” to produce a schedule on which physical education is given higher regards to other subjects.

Yes, obesity is on the rise here, even more so with children. I’ve got quite a bit to say on the subject, but that is for another thread at another time.

If I had to choose, I’d rather see my kids in better science and math courses, than having them run around a field for an hour. Having said that, it becomes my responsibility to make sure that my kids didn’t burn 3 hours a day in front of the TV, and that they got up, went outside, and played. Perhaps if more parents became a little more involved in their children’s leisure time, there would be less of a need for mandatory physical education in schools.

It’s still a good idea to have a year of P.E. in High School. All those kids need to have the trauma of group showers burnt into their psyches, anyways. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget the rope climb. Hee hee, what a way to truly highlight the division of the physically fit and the walking wounded.

It depends on what they do with that hour. When my sons were in public school that time was spent 'playing around.'There were no calisthenics like when I was in school (forced ‘old person’ reference, sorry, it’s in the Old People’s Rule book, so I gotta do it.) The ‘playing around’ that my sons did usually ended up in fights too…not a good thing.

So, if they aren’t going to supervise the kid’s time with disciplined games or exercise, they probably should use it for learning how to eat more healthful meals in home economics. I sure don’t see that happening either.

Let me tell y’all about a little story involving me, PE, and Calculas.
I am a Senior this year. My schedule includes Calculas AP. But then I get the shocking news…I need PE to graduate!!! WHAT?! I don’t have enough room for PE!
Well, says the Vice-Principal, you will have to drop Calculas. What?!? I can’t drop Calculas!
It’s either drop Calculas or you don’t graduate!
Now, people, fine members of the SDMB, does that make sense to you? I have to drop an AP class so I can take fitness walking for a year. Let me know how you feel about this. Me? Well, I’m pretty pissed off.

People definitely should be required to take some form of PE to graduate. At my school, it is a 2 semester requirement. This could be sports or just a PE class. For me, I’m taking marching band for all 4 years, which counts for all my fine arts and PE credit to graduate.

Pepper…that totally sucks that your school wouldn’t tell you beforehand that you needed PE. I also remember your summer school problems, which also sucks ass. Academics should not suffer to fit PE into someone’s schedule.

Does your school have some sort of loophole for a PE credit, at mine if you play 2 seasons of sports you gain .5 of a PE credit.

P.E. should be required, all four years. Kids need to learn to use their bodies, too.

A big problem is that P.E. rarely has anything to do with “education.” As it stands, it should really be called “gym class.” Making the kids run around (or more likely stand around) for an hour is not really all that productive.

I was lucky enough to have had some really excellent P.E. classes when I was in high school. We actually learned things that were useful. We did regular sports, of course, but we also did some more unusual stuff like fencing, square dancing, and weight lifting. So, I learned new skills and I discovered some sports that I really liked. (I always hated the typical team sports, like softball and volleyball. I was pleased to find out that there were things that I was good at and that I really liked to do.) All in all, I can say that I got some real “physical education.”

P.E. doesn’t need to be abolished. It needs to be improved.

That being said, I think rare exceptions to the "4-year P.E. rule should be made. The Olympic hopeful who swims 5 hours a day could be exempt. Pepperlandgirl described another situation where something should have been worked out. (If I were the principal, and I had thepower to do this, I would have allowed her to stay in calculus, but would have required that she do some sort of P.E. equivalent. She could maybe have taken aerobics classes 3x a week or something, and had the instructor sign off on her attendance. I don’t think I would have excused her from P.E. entirely, though, because I think exercise is as important as calculus. But there was only one calculus class, and many opportunities for physical education. Therefore, I would have been willing to be flexible about what she did for Phys. Ed.)

I don’t want to be the villian, but in the state of Oregon, they legally can’t make you group shower for PE classes.

I have posted but not my oppinion, were required 3 semesters. I think that is enough. There is a time when you just need to take responsibility for yourself. If that means your obese, that’s your problem, not the schools, or whatever.

There is one thing I would be for, and that is if P.E. was accually Physical Education. Nix some of the Health classes and have some days where you don’t change and learn about nutrition, STD’s, Bones, Muscles, Viruses, and such in P.E. Put the education back in Physical Education.

Anyone agree with me?

You have 4 years of high school to take PE. Are you saying that in 4 years it was not possible for you to take a PE class? And there’s no elective that you can drop to take PE?


Part of pepper’s problem is she recently moved to CA from UT, and in her old school she DID have what she needed. And I’ve seen her schedule - it’s all AP classes or classes that have a direct bearing on what she wants to do in college. I support her 110% - given the merit and value of the classes she’s taking, being forced to take exercise walking really seems silly and ignorant.

While we are discussing this, what do you all think of the presidential physical fitness tests and grading on the skill level achieved for the activity?

Marc **

Part of pepper’s problem is she recently moved to CA from UT, and in her old school she DID have what she needed. And I’ve seen her schedule - it’s all AP classes or classes that have a direct bearing on what she wants to do in college. I support her 110% - given the merit and value of the classes she’s taking, being forced to take exercise walking really seems silly and ignorant. **

I took an awful lot of AP classes as well. But I did have the advantage of going through the same school system for high school. If worse comes to worse I guess there’s always summer school. I don’t think most school disctricts have many options when it comes to providing alternatives.


Anthracite is 100 percent correct. The school in Utah worked differently than the one here in CA. Utah was on trimesters, CA is on semesters. In Utah we needed 1 credit of PE, which is equal to 10 credits here, which is equal to 2 semesters. However, in Utah, a trimester was worth .25 credits. Therefore, I needed 4 trimesters, or 2 years of PE in Utah. Which I had when we moved right after my Sophomore year. Well, I come here and I need 20 credits of PE, and I only had 10. Of course, I didn’t realize this last year, I thought I was in the clear. I realized that at the end of last year, when it was too late.
However, I went and registered for my classes this morning, and I don’t need to drop Calculas. They were able to fit one semester of Team Sports into my schedule. That equals 5 credits. And then I can take classes at LMC (the local JC) for the rest of the credits.
And I tried to get into summer school this year, but the class was canceled the day after SS started. Apparently, only 14 people signed up, and that wasn’t enough. Don’t think I haven’t been trying to solve this problem.

GAH! I hit clear field! Dammit!
Anyhoo, I had some brute jock of a teacher who wanted me to stay after school because I’m not very coordinated and learn how to throw a ball. I told her no way and my mother called up and asked, “Well, does my daughter at least try? Does she participate?” And the teacher’s like, “Yes.” So my mom was like, that’s all that’s needed.
And she made fun of you because you couldn’t run or swim that well…she told me I was dumb because I couldn’t tell the difference between two different types of golf clubs.
We were also made to lift weights for a test, and it was based on your weight, age, and height. Well, for someone who has never trained with weights, it was pretty dangerous, according to my father, who does lift moderate weights (he’s not pumped or anything, just a few times a week just to stay in shape)…
Stupid old hag gym teacher!
It should be mandatory that one learns to swim, first aid, self defense, and basic fitness. But the mile run was brutal. And gymnastics…ew!
The sad thing was: I was in Jerry Gym (For Jerry Lewis, you know, Jerry’s kids, that’s what we called it…mean, I know).
It was the easy gym class, and she was just merciless. We did have another teacher though who was REALLY easy going and we had fun sometimes…
But I think too much emphasis is placed on sports and competitiveness in gym, instead of learning about health and simple basic fitness. Instead of pressuring kids to be little jocks.


Self defense? That’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen. I can imagine two kids in school getting into a fight and doing some real damage to each other. Besides, currently schools advocate a pacifist policy in regards to fighting.


Not necessarily…hell, if they can have wrestling and hockey, why not? We learned a LITTLE bit of self defense, like how to get OUT of an attack, or a hold.
Hell, some people took archery! (And if you hit someone, it was AUTOMATIC failure for the entire course)

oh lord… Personally, I was a fat little kid, and the mandatory phys-ed in high school was school-sponsored torture which did not improve my health one iota nor make me lose one gram.

Of course, when I started going to cégep (junior college), and having to walk halfway up Mount Royal every day to get there, I lost twenty pounds in six months. Whatever.

Sorry, that last post was from me, not Hamish. (He uses my computer to access the boards.)