Why You Should Take Richard Simmons Seriously

November 08, 2007 1 min read

Kevin Carey at the Quick and the Ed is the latest blogger to fall under Richard Simmons’ spell.

After an entertaining and frivolous post about heading to a mall to meet Simmons, Carey follows up with an interview of the TV fitness instructor. The transcript starts out light-hearted, but then Carey starts to take Simmons’ ideas about physical education seriously. The next day, he posts about how Simmons’ ideas have merit. The messenger in his sequined tank top and tight shorts may be easy to dismiss based on his appearance. That persona is “frivolity with a purpose,” Carey writes. Simmons reaches millions on television by standing on a chair chanting “P.E. in schools; that’s the Golden Rule.” People in the audience start cheering with him. Advocates for other causes would love that kind of exposure.

I’ve made jokes (here and here) at Simmons’ expense. But I see Carey’s point. Simmons may not succeed in changing NCLB to include a P.E. But his advocacy may lead to changes in the way people in our country view schools’ role in ensuring children are physically fit.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.