Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, just 38 require schools to provide students with physical education in elementary, middle/junior high, and high school, according to a report released last month by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Heart Association.
However, a majority of those states allow exemptions, waivers, and substitutions that permit students to satisfy the physical education requirement in alternative ways, which “reduce[s] the effectiveness of the mandate,” according to the report.
It says that while the number of states requiring schools to provide physical education has risen since 2006, so has the number of states allowing exemptions or waivers from such requirements, growing from 18 in the 2005-06 school year to 28 in 2011-12. In all, 33 states permit schools to allow students to substitute other activities for their required physical education, the report says.
A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 2012 edition of Education Week as Physical Education