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March 26, 2018
Does your child’s school have a gym teacher? Hundreds of Michigan schools do not. Here’s the list.
Across the state about 500 schools — roughly 1 in 5 — do not have certified gym teachers.
February 9, 2018
Teaching makes me a better athlete, says Memphis educator bound for the Olympics
Sable Otey, a physical education teacher for Shelby County Schools, is a member of the U.S. bobsled team competing in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
leveling the playing field
June 28, 2017
New York City’s racial disparities spill into gym class, according to new report
Black students received less PE than any other racial group.
room to run
June 5, 2017
City announces major push to provide all schools with designated space for gym class
New York City will invest $385 million over the next four years to provide all city schools with a designated space for physical education.
April 4, 2017
Requiring P.E. for Tennessee’s youngest students would help academics, too, advocates say
Research shows that physical education boosts children's brain development and helps to form lifelong exercise habits.
December 7, 2016
All work and no play: Colorado kids losing out on P.E., report finds
Colorado students don't get enough physical education in school, a problem that especially hurts low-income students.
November 28, 2016
Denver schools with large numbers of English learners get less physical education
District officials will investigate why students at Denver schools with large numbers of English learners are getting less physical education than other students.
change of course
Updated May 18, 2016
DPS backs off proposal to eliminate high school P.E. requirement
Physical education teachers and a statewide coalition of P.E. advocates are upset about a proposal to eliminate high school P.E. from Denver Public Schools' graduation requirements.
October 29, 2015
How PE classes are working to get kids with disabilities off the sidelines
More teacher training and modified equipment have helped teachers in Denver and other Colorado districts better include students with disabilities in P.E. classes.
June 17, 2015
City officials discuss proposed P.E. transparency bill
This bill is a reaction to the reality that many city schools fall short of state requirements for keeping students moving.
May 1, 2015
Coalition questions DPS commitment to physical education after cut (Updated)
A statewide coalition of physical education advocates expressed disappointment with Denver Public Schools' decision to eliminate its longtime physical education director as part of a major restructuring effort.
April 9, 2015
Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system improving, state report says
Tennessee's teacher evaluation system is more accurate than ever in measuring teacher quality, according to a new report by the state Department of Education.
February 12, 2015
New bill would force city to report whether schools meet phys ed requirements
The bill takes up a strategy that’s been used to shine a spotlight on gaps in arts education.
September 15, 2014
PE that’s more like a health club and less like….well, PE
A high school in Boulder has done away with the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to physical education, giving students a choice about what what kind of exercise to do, with grades based on effort and personal improvement.
July 30, 2012
Charter school opts out of free public space in favor of a gym
Urban Dove's website features a clock that is counting down to the first day of classes at the nonprofit's new charter school. For most of this spring, Urban Dove Team Charter School’s story followed a familiar trajectory. When the Department of Education offered the charter school space in a public school building, the community erupted in opposition. Politicians stepped in, principals went to the press, and parents protested — all with the goal of keeping the charter school out. Then the city signed off on the co-location anyway, and tensions started to die down. That’s when Urban Dove’s story took an unusual turn. Despite getting free public space — a hotly sought-after commodity — Urban Dove signed a lease this month to spend some of its scarce per-pupil funding on private space. Next month, the transfer high school will open on one floor of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. It was a rare move for a charter school offered a public building. Most charter schools prefer to open in buildings owned by the city to save money and time spent negotiating with landlords, according to James Merriman, director of the New York City Charter School Center. Plus, money for real estate comes from charter schools' operating budget — meaning the more they spend on space, the less they have for teachers, supplies, and programming. Urban Dove’s founder and principal each declined to share the terms of the lease. But they said undertaking the significant expense made perfect sense for the school, which will serve students who have already fallen behind before they turn 16.
June 11, 2012
Student journalists report more proof of P.E. crediting problems
Searching for an explanation behind their school's mid-year physical education scheduling shakeup, two Staten Island student journalists arrived at a conclusion familiar to Department of Education insiders: It's hard to know just how many P.E. courses students must take, and for how long. Travis Dove and Juliana Zaloom, students at CSI High School for International Studies, launched their investigation in their journalism class after CSI seniors were thrust into extra P.E. classes last semester. Today, they share their report in the GothamSchools Community section. Dove and Zaloom write: The physical education scheduling conflicts could be due to mistakes by school administration and faculty. ... But the city Department of Education can also be blamed for its unclear handling of physical education. As it does not monitor schools’ physical education programs, some have not even been aware that there are requirements at all. CSI High is not the only school to have reshuffled its physical education offerings in the middle of this year. An internal Department of Education audit released in February found that some principals had been unaware of crediting rules, particularly around P.E.
February 15, 2012
Pace seniors hit the gym after school's P.E. crediting oversight
Pace High School's Chinatown school building Until last week, Tejiana Lee, a senior at Pace High School, didn’t have to start her day until 10 a.m. After three years with a heavy course load, she was enjoying the late start her two consecutive free periods were giving her. But now she must arrive at the school 45 minutes before the regular day begins to log time in the weight room. Lee is one of dozens of second-semester seniors whose schedules were jolted last week when they found out the school had not required them to take the correct number of gym courses. State and city regulations require high school students to be enrolled in physical education classes for seven semesters, but Pace had scheduled them for only four semesters and still counted the requirement as complete. Simply put, "the school granted students more credit than allowed," said Marge Feinberg, a Department of Education spokeswoman. So until the recent schedule change, most seniors were not actually on track to graduate in June. Now, they are scrambling to enroll in a variety of P.E. classes – and creative alternatives – that began this week. Some, such as Lee, are enrolled in P.E. classes before and after the school day. One student, Chrystal, said she's making up one P.E. credit through her part-time job as a dance instructor and plans to earn another by joining Pace’s flag football league in March. Another senior, Michael Thompson, said he's getting credit by going to his local gym and showing up to school on Saturdays. “We’re mad, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I just have to put on my tough face,” Lee said.
December 15, 2011
Citing obesity data, city says schools have boosted kids' health
Teacher Christian Ledesma leads his running group at P.S. 244, one of four schools to win a national fitness award. City children have shed pounds faster than children anywhere else, according to five years of health data released today. Mayor Bloomberg brought Chancellor Dennis Walcott and a team of commissioners and elected officials to P.S. 218 in the Bronx to announce, over the cafeteria salad bar, that obesity rates among elementary and middle school students have declined in the last half-decade. They touted an array of recent efforts to boost students' health. But the Centers for Disease Control, which identified the trend, said it could not say that interventions in schools had driven the decline in obesity. In the 2006-2007 school year, 21.9 percent of children in kindergarten through eighth grade were obese. Last year, that figure was 20.7 percent. In contrast, according to the CDC, children's obesity rates are stagnant nationally. The decrease spanned all racial and economic groups, but obesity rates for black and Hispanic children fell by less, according to the CDC, which released the data in its weekly report today. And still, one in five New York City children is considered obese.
November 18, 2011
Walcott says he has limited his role at chaotic Queens school
A family firewall around discussing school issues has Chancellor Dennis Walcott taking a hands-off approach to managing trouble at a chaotic Queens school. Walcott's daughter, Dejeanne Walcott, is a physical education teacher at Queens Metropolitan High School, where an organizational crisis has caused schedules to shift frequently and left some students without instruction, including in physical education classes. After last night's Panel for Educational Policy meeting, where he vowed that the problems would be solved, Walcott said he had first heard about the troubles at the school "a couple weeks ago." He said his top deputy, Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky, had heard complaints around the same time. But Walcott would not say whether his daughter mentioned the issues to him, emphasizing that he and Dejeanne try not to talk shop. "My daughter and I have established a protocol with each other with respect to business," he said. "We try not to mix our respective lives as far as education is concerned."
November 3, 2011
Before marathon, Walcott visits young milers in name of fitness
Chancellor Dennis Walcott took a break from parent town hall meetings, protests and policy speeches this morning to visit Central Park and greet more than a thousand public school students for a citywide running event. Walcott is three days away from running a race of his own – the New York City Marathon – and took the chance to hype healthy lifestyle habits as one way to boost student performance in the classroom. "As far as wellness is concerned, that's what makes for a student to be able to perform in the classroom," Walcott said. "And that's our goal." The event was one of dozens hosted annually by the New York Road Runners in partnership with the Department of Education as a way to encourage running in the public school system. For more than six years, NYRR's Mighty Milers program has provided equipment and training resources to teachers who want to start running programs in their school. It now counts more than 50,000 students, including ones from The Active Learning Elementary School, which we wrote about in June after it won a national award for its health-conscious curriculum. "Running is becoming the sport of choice for New York City schools," said NYRR President Mary Wittenberg. "It's easy, it's accessible, it's affordable. That's what we're teaching, even when there's limited resources."
October 4, 2011
Comptroller: Most schools not meeting P.E. time requirements
City students aren't getting the physical education they're supposed to, according to the latest Department of Education audit out of Comptroller John Liu's office. The audit — which follows others in recent weeks about the DOE's space planning and handling of the Absent Teacher Reserve — concludes that the DOE is doing too little to monitor physical education compliance at individual schools. According to state law, students in kindergarten through sixth grade must have at least two hours total of physical education each week, with daily instruction until third grade and at least three times weekly after that. But of the 31 elementary schools that auditors surveyed, only two appeared to be meeting the requirements for all students. Some principals told Liu's office that they didn't know the state's physical education requirements. Others said they lacked the space or personnel to offer as much physical education instruction as they would like, especially after budget cuts. And still others said they had felt pressure to curtail physical education in favor of academic subjects. In their response to the audit, DOE officials said they would do more to make principals aware of the state's physical education requirements and would create a formal plan for delivering physical education within the next year. But they emphasized that they do not monitor the amount of time that schools spend on any single subject.
July 28, 2011
Cuts cost a gym-less school its physical education teacher, too
James Horan is used to being creative, after spending years teaching physical education at an elementary school without a gym or outdoor space of its own. Now, like many other city teachers, he’s going to need to use that creativity to find another position. Horan was recently excessed after teaching for four and a half years at PS 68 in Ridgewood, Queens. Even though the school's population has been shrinking for years, Horan thought his job was safe because it wasn’t included in the list of projected layoffs that the city circulated in February. When layoffs were averted, he joined the cheers — only to be told one month later that budget reductions made his position too expensive for the school to maintain. The city has not yet released details about how many teachers shared Horan's fate this year, but after three straight years of cuts, the number is sure to be significant. Principals eliminated nearly 2,000 positions last year. “I just find it very frustrating,” Horan said. “Now that I’m excessed, it’s just very unexpected. Until June, everything’s great. I would have planned differently.” Horan came to PS 68 as a first-year teacher in the spring of 2007, teaching 30 to 50 students at a time in an empty classroom that served as the school's gym. The school hadn’t offered physical education in at least three years, he said, and he bought the program's only supplies himself using Teacher’s Choice funds. (Those funds were also eliminated this year.)
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