Spurred on by national concern about growing childhood obesity rates, the Tennessee Legislature is responding with proposed legislation to mandate monitoring of the physical fitness curriculum, health policies, and nutrition programs of local public schools.
SB2494/HB2522 (Ketron/Baird) would also require public school students in grades K-6 to participate in 150 minutes of P.E. per week; and students in grades 6-8 to participate in 225 minutes of P.E. per week for the entire school year.
Kids need to be more active than they are, both for health and to “get their wiggles out” to improve learning in subjects that require more concentration. The Commercial Appeal has endorsed it; articles have also appeared in the Tennessean and Chattanoogan.
The only problem is this: the State continues to mandate what must be included in the school day, while taking nothing out. Further, there is no provision for funding additional facilities or instructional staff needed to carry out the mandate. It is, once again, a case of adding to the local burden while relieving nothing.
Extracurricular athletic opportunities abound, and parents should assume some responsibility for seeing to it that their children spend some portion of each day on physical activity. Of course, given the state of adults in this country, we shouldn’t wonder why children are following the unhealthy lifestyles of their role models.
Has anyone proposed a fitness regimen for legislators? How about benchmarking their diet and exercise habits first?