Friday, July 2, 2010

So, the Other thing...

The other night, I was watching the news.  First, I remember when I was little, we had these things that we had to do at school, usually due on Mondays, called "Current Events".  We had to take a news story that we found in the paper, or later on, that we found online, and had to write a short summary of the article and our reaction to it.  As I was watching the news, I tried to think about that, and which of the articles would be appropriate for my oldest son, who is 9, to take to school... shockingly, there were two stories.  I'm not bashing the media when I say this, but REALLY?  Every other story was about a rapist, or murderer, or child porn, or something of that nature.

One of the stories that was actually appropriate, relevant, and sickening to me as a parent, was a blurb about budget issues within the Portland Public Schools.  I have gone out of my way to keep Ethan in the North Clackamas school district, specifically for these reasons.  In addition to closing several High Schools and letting go multiple administrative and teaching positions, they now want to take away Physical Education for all of the Elementary and Middle school grades.  Wow.  For a country that has a higher child obesity level as compared to almost every other country in the WORLD, good plan PPS, take away gym class. 

Yes, I know that there are budget issues.  Portland, however, has a great history of huge sports companies located within city limits.  Adidas to the north, located minutes from downtown (you can see the downtown buildings from the Adidas campus), and also Nike, located a whopping 15 minutes away, in Beaverton.  Not to mention there is also Lucy sportswear - a division of the VF Corporation, and several others.  Why not ask them for grant money?  Who cares if it's (sports equipment, gym uniforms, shoes for those who need them) logo'd?  When school districts allow Coke, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, and other various corporations into the schools, their machines go in, their ads go up on the billboards... which, side note, the sodas and energy drinks aren't really helping combat the whole childhood obesity thing.

These schools looking at taking away the physical activity from the kids who need it the most, because let's face it, by the time you get to high school, your workout habits are established.  You know if you're a runner, lifter, cyclist.  You know your food groups, and what you should be eating.  In elementary school and middle school, this is the time that all of this knowledge needs to be developed.  Not to mention, high school kids have the opportunity to get up between classes and walk around, stretch legs, etc.  (Give the teachers a five minute break before the next group of rowdies...)  These younger kids, recess isn't enough.  They are cooped up in the same classroom all day - for the most part.  Plus, even at recess (and in most gym classes) they aren't allowed to play most of what we did as kids... dodgeball, kickball, tag, red rover - they've been deemed "too dangerous".  Really?  Pretty sure we all turned out okay, and are turning around as adults to find rec leagues to play those same games!  Some schools still offer music and library once a week.  If they are REALLY lucky, they might even still have art classes.  Also, these main classroom teachers need a break!  Seriously.  You try dealing with a bunch of 7, 8, and 9 year olds for 5 and a half hours straight.  Hair.  Grey.  Or gone.  :)

Sure, parents are responsible for educating their kids on good food habits, however, with the current state of the economy, more and more parents are working at least one job, and kids are spending more time in daycare.  Sad, yes, but true.  Even after school recreational sports are becoming more and more competitive and it's becoming all about the kids who are the best on the team, as opposed to being a "rec league" to go out and have fun.  In fact, I'm not even sure that those exist for kids at this point.

So, Portland Public Schools, I appreciate everything that you do for the kids in your district.  I understand that eliminating Physical Education is the easiest, most broad reaching (meaning it will affect ALL, not just some of the schools - thereby saving the most money) cut that you can make.  However, I will continue to keep my kids in the North Clackamas district, even with our budget shortfall... last I heard, we were still having gym class and library in the fall.

There is a Facebook campaign to save gym in the Portland Public Schools.  Also, this is a GREAT article about kids brains and gym class... check it out by clicking here, and you can find Michelle Obama's take on physical education at this site.

No comments:

Post a Comment