To the Editor:
In your article “Florida to Require Physical Education for Grades K-5" (May 16, 2007), Karen G. Dowd, the executive director of the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, and Sport, is reported as saying that her state wants “high-quality instruction” in its physical education programs. Yet the recently passed measure does not require a teacher certified in physical education. Similarly, Ms. Dowd talks about using heart-rate monitors and pedometers in gym classes, but the law provides no money for schools to purchase these types of items.
The Florida mandate requires that K-5 students receive at least 150 minutes of physical education per week. But no funds are provided to hire additional personnel, and the school day has not been lengthened.
At my school, students attend art classes for at least 45 minutes per week, music classes for at least 45 minutes per week, and physical education classes for at least 90 minutes per week. From where shall the required extra hour of physical education come? Should we fire the art or music teacher and hire another coach? Should we teach less reading, math, spelling, writing, social studies, or science to accommodate the new measure?
This law is another unfunded mandate.
A version of this article appeared in the June 06, 2007 edition of Education Week as Florida P.E. Requirement: Another Rule, Unfunded