The following is Part II of some notes Diane Ruby and Val Kohlman, both PE teachers in the St. Vrain Valley School District, made after reading several studies, books, and other resources that discussed the importance and value of physical education in our schools.


---In re: to cutting art, music, physical education, and athletics from schools we are talking about cutting the HEART, SOUL, AND HEALTH OF OUR CHILDREN.

--- Those students who want to pursue sport will find a way; few students or their parents will find a way or take the initiative to learn the skills to be active for good heath--emotional, physical, social, intellectual health.

--- Certainly there are no priorities higher than physical health; without health, one is not capable of being a productive human being. (Why P.E.)

--- Play and Physical Education are not synonymous. Sport and Physical Education are not synonymous.

--- Physical Education is a necessity--not a luxury--for the health and well-being of every child.

--- Competition is not for all kids, but physical activity is good for virtually everyone.

--- After smoking, physical inactivity is the single largest health risk factor in the country today. Also individuals who are taught how to be physically active and pursue exercise on a regular basis tend to "steer clear" of physically and mentally damaging activities such as using drugs and smoking.

--- According to one study comparing Phys. Ed. specialist and classroom teachers who had not received special in-servicing in physical education, trained teachers provided more and better quality instruction spending, over 3 times more class time on instruction in fitness activities, and over twice as much time on skill drills. In addition, students of trained teachers were twice as likely to be very active (McKenzie, Sallis, Faucette, Roby, and Kolody, 1993).

--- Philosophy: We want all students to have the knowledge and skills and confidence to engage in a physically active, healthy lifestyle throughout life--not just the gifted individuals.

--- Drop Out Rate: Most students enjoy and do well in their physical education classes. For the potential drop out student Phys. Ed. is often the one class where he/she is experiencing some success and building confidence


--- Book: Smart Moves by neurophysiologist Dr. Cara Hannaford. Re: education through the physical, the role of the body and movement in sensation, in emotional processing, and in intellectual processing and skill development. The bottom line is Dr. H. clearly shows how the body plays an essential role in all learning.

--- In Texas AAPHERD hosted a brain research conference with Dr. Robert Sylwester, the foremost authority on brain research and its connection to education. He is an avid advocate for Physical Education and the implications of daily movement facilitating cognition. He has recently written an article specifically addressing Physical Education and the vital role it plays in "whole child" education.

--- Keays, 1993: Moderate to vigorous physical activity favorably enhances skill performance in classroom functions such as arithmetic, reading, memorization, and categorization.

--- Maynard, Coonan, Worsly, Dwyer and Baghurst, 1987: Even when more time is devoted to physical education, academic performance has been found not to suffer.

--- Shepard, 1984a: Gains in academic performance (in comparison with control group students) were statistically significant in grades 2, 3, 5, and 6. The more active students received higher grades in French, Mathematics, English, and Science, despite a 13% reduction in the time available for academic instruction. 1970's, 500 Canadian children: Students who spent an extra hour each day in gym class--an hour that reduced the amount of time for academics--performed notably better on exams than less active children.

--- Robert Dustman, Ph.D., Dir. of Neuropsychology Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salt Lake City. Research supporting direct link between fitness and intelligence. Pre and post test of men and women, aged 50s to 60s, showed a 10% gain on a series of mental tests after a 4 month aerobic training program. The link between aerobic exercise and intelligence he says is "oxygen". "The brain depends on oxygen to function properly and a healthy cardiovascular system gets more oxygen to the brain. Improve the function of the heart and lungs and you get smarter."

--- 11th annual Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools: Physical education and athletics are perceived as a positive aspect of the high school curriculum. The national totals show that 76% of the public ranks physical education as an essential subject.

--- Feb. issue of Newsweek and children's brains.

--- Compiled into. Re: workplace 2000 and future, and the skills needed to survive. The top 3 skills in all reports were: 1. Teamwork 2. Problem solving and 3. Interpersonal Skills all of which are primary goals in physical education classes grades K-12. Sources: Fortune 500 Companies; SCANS report for America 2000 prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Labor; Workplace 2000; the Conference Board of Canada.


--- Brief synopsis of Surgeon General's Report in Physical Activity and Health 1996. Americans are not getting the exercise they need. It is estimated that as many as 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. Regular physical activity that is performed on most days of the week reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes is illness and death in the U.S. (i.e. Reduces: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, depression and anxiety. Helps: control weight; build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; psychological well-being; older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling.) Conclusion: Given the numerous health benefits of physical activity, the hazards of being inactive are clear. Physical inactivity is a serious, nationwide problem. Its scope poses a public health challenge for reducing the national burden of unnecessary illness and premature death. Number one on the reports list for ideas for improvement is: Well-designed programs in schools to increase physical activity in physical education classes have been shown to be effective. Preferably daily K-12 classes taught by physical education specialists. 

--- Shape of the Nation Report; New York, Oct. 28, 1997--Most states are not living up to recommendations of the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to require daily, quality physical education for all students in K-12 grades. Letha Y. Griffin, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, warned that the lack of physical fitness could endanger the health of youths in the future. "It's not uncommon for youths to play games, surf the Internet or do homework on computers for hours every day. They are building the skills they'll need in a computer-oriented world, but they are becoming high-tech couch potatoes. They need physical activity in school and after school to prevent heath problems later in life."

--- Colorado Action for Healthy People has recently funded 4 state Physical Fitness programs for Colorado school age children. Quote from Susan Hill, Exec. Dir. of CAHP : "Healthy habits formed in childhood can have an enormous impact on health throughout life. Certain health risks, such as lack of physical activity and inadequate nutrition, are linked to the development of diseases that contribute to premature death."

--- New York Times article by Jacques Steinberg: School budget cuts have taken a toll on gym classes in American schools. The cuts are occurring at a time when, according to several studies, obesity rates among the young are increasing more rapidly than in the ever-chunky American public as a whole. Health experts tracking the expanding girth of the nation's children say that the budget-cutting trend, which tends to affect programs like physical education, is dangerous.

--- "Nearly 40% of children age 5 to 8 have health conditions that significantly increase their risk of early heart disease" (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance). dA primary benefit of regular physical activity is protection against heart disease." The American heart Association has stated, "Children should be introduced to the principals of regular physical activity and recreational activities at an early age. Schools at all levels should develop and encourage positive attitudes toward physical exercise, providing opportunities to learn physical skills and to perform physical activities, especially those that can be enjoyed for many years (AHA 1992).

--- Why P.E.? Present day technology has been extremely effective in eliminating Phys. activity from our daily pattem of living. Void exists re: the necessity for activity--the best way to fill is through quality P.E. programs in our schools. Children do not voluntarily engage in high intensity activity (60% of Max. H.R.) according to study by Gilliam, et al 1982. Exercise is one of the most important health factors. It is required to maintain life. Rose, 1973 identified the first signs of heart disease (atherosclerosis) appearing around age 2. His good news is that the disease process is reversible until the age of 19. To avoid fitness is to avoid developing an important lifestyle for adulthood. The justification for teaching many different ways to retain fitness is to show that the school values health, and views exercise as an important habit. The Physical Education program of the school is the most efficient and productive means of delivering this message to students.

Submitted by Diane Ruby and Val Kohlman who are Physical Eductors in the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont and Niwot, CO. Thanks so much for sharing your collected information with PE Central!
Back to Defending PE Program Page