Skip to comments.Pottsville High (PA) savings plans call for scrapping gym class next year
Posted on 03/12/2005 11:36:09 AM PST by Born Conservative
Some Pottsville Area High School students can forget about climbing the rope, dodging balls or getting sweaty altogether.
Gym class may be a thing of the past for students when the district eliminates the mandatory physical education requirement next school year.
The Pottsville Area School District is planning to scrap the four semesters of physical education required to graduate.
It's a move that will help save the school district money and it also stems from tougher academic standards for school districts.
Schools Superintendent James T. Gallagher said the district is trying to control costs.
And without a sizable increase in money from the state and federal governments, he said rising health care, special education, retirement and energy costs will force the district to scale back some programs.
With about 1,200 students enrolled in the high school, each student at some time was required to take a physical education class.
By changing physical education to an elective, fewer students will sign up.
"It's great. I hate gym," said Alex J. Bulino, 16, a high school junior. "I won't be signing up (next year). Definitely not. A lot of people take it, but I don't like it."
Gallagher said that if the department had a sizable decline in enrollment, then not as many instructors would be needed, but he said the teachers within the seven-member physical education department would not lose their jobs or positions.
"As we have teachers retire, they will not be replaced and it will be a financial savings to the district," Gallagher said.
Although the changes to the physical education department are the most drastic, the district will also cut the mandatory drivers education class.
Charles V. Wagner, high school principal, said the high school will no longer offer the mandated driver's education curriculum next year.
He did say a driver's education course will be offered in the summer for a fee, but it has not been set.
Cutting unpopular programs and adding new courses has been a familiar practice, but Shirley Black, health and physical education adviser with the state Department of Education, has noted a decline in physical education programs across the commonwealth.
"The districts must ensure that health, safety and physical education are provided at a sufficient level," she said. "Schools have to guarantee that the students can achieve a proficient level in these area."
At Blue Mountain High School, high school students must fulfill a two credit requirement prior to graduation, which breaks down to about four days of physical education a semester for five semesters.
"You are required to have some requirements for health and physical education," said William H. Hall, superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District.
At Pottsville, the high school will require students to take a health class.
With growing concerns about health and obesity in the nation, the chairman of Pottsville's physical education department worries about the lasting affects.
"Sound body, sound mind has been a given forever. I think there's some truism." said James K. Steidle, department chairman. "What can you do now that the decision is made? I think they should be taking physical education because of the society we're living in."
Regarding the obesity issue, Gallagher said people need to be accountable for their own decisions.
"There has to be personal responsibility. We've mandated physical education and you cannot force someone to lose weight," Gallagher said. "We teach students about proper nutrition in health. Students are required to take health."
Some students disagree with the policy change.
"I think it should be mandatory because teen obesity is a problem in the United States," 12th-grader Jess L. Paulo, 17, said.
More schools are also shifting attention to the standardized testing or the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.
Students focusing on class rank and grade point average would be more likely to opt for another course that carries more academic credits.
Amber L. Welborn, 17, a senior, thinks underclassmen will have an advantage.
"Their GPA and class rank will be higher because the quality points for physical education are lower than other electives," she said. "Students will now have an advantage over what we did."
"Students could fill their schedule with an elective that will offer more quality points next year," she said.
Linda R. Dietrich, Pottsville, waited for her daughter outside of the school.
"I think it's a great idea. Gym is not an important part of the life unless you plan on becoming a gym teacher," she said. "I think it should be a choice cause it's not a major subject."
Junior Samantha A. Martz plans to sign up for physical education next year.
"I actually don't like it. I think it would be better if everyone was involved cause, not everyone is involved in sports," she said. "I plan on taking a semester and playing a sport. I don't like to be out of shape."
As students select their courses for next year, administrators and teachers will see how many students enroll.
"I'd like to think as many students as possible can fit it in, but it's a pie in the sky. I don't think it's possible," Steidle said.
Something similar is happening to my old high school in Ohio, but not for the same reasons.
It is being driven mainly by the same wackos that want to disband the town's police and fire department. Why? Because they would profit from it as they run security firms. They also want everything in the town to revert back to a more rural setting. Too bad they live in one of the fastest growing communities East of Columbus, Ohio and pretty much just make themselves look like idiots. Oops.
I guess short sightedness happens to us all eventually.
What city by Columbus is that? I know that Delaware County is growing phenominally.
To whim it May corncern:
I thinks this be good idear. aNd they shuld not mek us reed eithr, cuz books is espensive. If we culd al jest rap about hip-hop and condoms, we wodnt Have no homework and the techrs culd have there evenings to have fun too. That wood be too cool, dog.
Planned Presidenthood of the NEA
/ sarcasm not that far OFF
IMO Some of these bureaucrats will stop at nothing to maintain the size nd power of their fiefdoms.
Chill out with a cool Yuengling!
You are correct, sir. That's exactly what this is.
Joe Mama, indeed. Sarcasm, what sarcasm? More like, "Oh, No, Toto! Maybe we ARE in Kansas!"
"This smacks more of payback for a defeated bond vote to me"
Absolutely. It's a passive-aggressive "fiscal gun to the head" strategy. Hope the local voters put these extortionists out on the street.
Ronald Reagan, please come back and FIRE them like you fired the air traffic controllers....
Shucks, I forgot to plug my thread. We have been discussing inexpensive ways to fast track kids through high school to avoid the liberal agenda and other idiocies:
Unfortunately my thread title was not well thought out, because some parents might instinctively skip over it due to attached stigma, whether real or imagined.
A good example is Police Services - The vehicles are replaced every year (Or even less in some cases) and are auctioned off to Cab Co's when they are perfectly serviceable for many years forward. BTW - Ever seen an older SUV in our Gov't Fleets? I haven't.
Another example are these 'Training' Boondoggles that are often Taxpayer funded and paid time vacations for our Elected Elites. Virtually every Local, State and Federal Entity engages in this type of waste. /rant
At least this school is using some sense in making these cuts. In our area the first programs cut are the academic enrichment classes followed by music and the arts. The sacred cow is the athletic program which serves only a relatively few students and is very expensive.
You must not have read the article. The only change is that Gym Class is no longer required. It is an elective.
I truly don't understand your point.
It smacks of the district giving more autonomy to parents and students to me. They simply got rid of the gym requirement. If kids still want to take gym, they still can. If the kids and parents think another elective is more valuable, they may now choose the elective of greater value.
My sarcastic "open letter" was more a broad screed of the textbook juggernaut/NEA/Planned Parenthood/Leftist Agenda than strictly a focused comment on this situation. If it doesn't float your boat, no problem. I made another comment or two that are more directed to the original post.
Problem is, this is one organized activity that probably should be a requirement. When faced with the election to be active and in shape in their non-school lives, many kids are already electing out. I expect much the same decision will be made for in-school programs. If not in school, where will most kids ever be exposed to organized fitness and sports programs?
Wonder whose pocket the existing money is going into to. There is NO reason to sut this course.
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