Freedom New Mexico
We hope the implementation of new physical education requirements in Texas’ public schools is a return to a more holistic approach to education, which has been shown to be better for students.
Texas schools are now required to evaluate students’ physical fitness, and eventually implement moderate to rigorous exercise programs of 30 minutes a day or 135 minutes a week.
The requirements were implemented for elementary and middle school students in 2003, and extended to high schools this year. It reverses a trend toward more classroom instruction as schools try to improve aggregate scores in standardized tests.
In order to carve out more time for test study, campuses and entire districts have cut out physical education, arts and other programs that some administrators have deemed inessential.
Several studies have shown, however, that music, art, physical activity and other enrichment activities actually enhance brain development in children. Diversity in learning has anywhere from 40 percent to 70 percent responsible for setting the “wiring” in a developing child’s brain, studies have shown.
Physical activity can have even more benefits. Fit students tend to be more alert and often recall information more easily.
This is increasingly important as Americans, children as well as adults, continue to decline in health. Increased opportunities for indoor activities, such as video games and Internet pastimes, coupled with parents’ increased fears regarding dangers outside the home, have led to more sedentary lives for our children. As a result, obesity and weight-related health issues continue to grow as concerns.
The concerns should be even greater in the Rio Grande Valley, whose population already has a greater than normal propensity for developing diabetes. Excess weight can provoke or worsen diabetes, and low fitness levels can weaken the body’s ability to fight or recover from illnesses and injuries as well.
In the end, the simple investment of a half-hour of physical activity a day should bring noticeable improvement. Healthier students miss fewer days and are thus in class and learning, and with more alert minds they should be more receptive to instruction.
The benefits are so obvious, in fact, it’s hard to understand how so many school officials were so easily motivated to do away with physical education classes in the first place.
After seeing the results, let’s hope these educators have learned something.