High School Gym Class

January 31, 2010
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High School Gym Classes
All parents would agree that they want their child to receive the best possible education at the child’s respective school. What if schools could do more to help their student body to perform at a higher academic level? They can. Many students have to take a gym class in order to graduate; however, this class holds back certain students from achieving their full academic potential. Therefore, in the best interest of the student, gym should not be a mandatory class in the nation’s schools.
First of all, bullying and its effects would become less prevalent in schools if students were not required to participate in a gym class. Every school in America has at least one bully who can make the lives of certain students a virtual hell. During gym classes, bullies often torment the slower and less skillful. Kids often suppress the urge to reveal bullying to an adult due to a fear of receiving additional abuse from the bully when he or she finds out upon discovery. “Bullying not only begets depression and suicide but also serious crime,” researchers say, “not to mention poor academic performance, truancy and higher dropout rates,” reports John Greenya of the CQ Researcher. If schools implement an optional gym class, the children lacking the best physical prowess have less likelihood of experiencing bullying during their school day because they will not have to take the class in which bullying occurs most.
In addition to reducing the amount of bullying in schools, non mandatory gym class will also help American schools increase the quality of education given, enabling America to become one step closer to having the smartest students in the world. American schools have slowly fallen behind other developed countries’ educational standards. “Educators in this country are working in a system that is dysfunctional,” Darling-Hammond of the CQ Researcher argues. “We've got to look at how to transform that system.” If America transforms her schools by making the gym optional, her students can and will succeed. America has slowly slipped from her seat as most educated country, but not for long. If schools help by making gym optional, America will receive another opportunity to rise to the top of worldwide academia; and America will continue as the land of the free, and the home of the brave, and now the epitomic empire of educational standards.
Finally, along with making students smarter, most parents possess the ability to teach their children about lifetime physical activities. Although teaching physical education remains a very important occupation, many parents know different ways of exercising. If parents receive the opportunity to teach their children different ways of exercising, this opportunity encourages parents to spend more time with their children, which today’s society needs more than ever. Parents will now have frequent opportunities to play catch in the yard under the evening sunlight after school, or take walks together during autumn to enjoy the foliage change marvelous colors above their heads, and observe the leaves gently floating to the ground after a gentle breeze. Even if the parents feel unable to adequately teach their children, the schools will still offer the opportunity to take a gym class, just not a mandatory one in order to graduate.
The big question now surfaces: Will making gym a voluntary class in schools result in obese and overweight American children? On the surface of the problem, if schools remove gym class, a child will not receive as much physical activity as a child who does participate in a gym class; however, the real reason lies in the child’s lifestyle. In a study of 206 children ages seven to eleven documented by Time Magazine’s John Cloud, some children attending a private school which allotted over nine hours of activity during the week while others from a public school received under two, showed fascinating results. The results received from devices that tracked the amount and intensity of exercise emphasized that, “No matter how much P.E. they got during school hours, by the end of the day, the kids from the three schools had moved around about the same amount, at about the same intensity… You can exercise all you want, which will surely make you healthier…but unless you eat better, or less, it may do nothing to make you thin.” Therefore, although obesity rates have increased over the past decade, the study shows that virtually no correlation exists between the amount of exercise received in schools compared to the weight of a child.
America and her students will continue to advance if schools make gym class voluntary: Bullying will occur less frequently, education will improve dramatically, and parental teaching will make students healthier more effectively than ever before. In order to make the change in our school, everyone must contact his or her school’s superintendent and request for the class change to occur with all due haste. In the words of our president, “This is change we can believe in!”

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