Phys. Ed Gets a Facelift

September 29, 2008 1 min read

In PE class, Oregon students are handing in their dodgeballs for hiking boots, compasses, and table tennis paddles, according to The Oregonian. The state is getting serious about gym, making curriculum changes aimed at teaching specific skills, building self esteem, and reducing obesity rates. Traditional team sports leave too many students standing around, and promote competition instead of exercise, according to proponents of the new standards.

The state deparment of education added PE to a list of subjects that must have textbooks, in an effort to provide consistency statewide and prepare districts for a new state law doubling the amount of PE hours in schools by 2017. While critics see the new mandates as ignoring subjects like math, science and reading, PE teachers are hailing the developments as long overdue.

“All of us collectively have to embrace the notion that a well-balanced curriculum including music, the arts and PE is going to contribute more effectively to the kind of citizens we want than just longer stretches of time devoted to math and literacy,” Don Zehrun, a 35-year Beaverton PE teacher, told the newspaper. “In the long run, that will provide what we’re after -- better students, better citizens who are healthier, happier and more productive.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.