Student Well-Being

Report: States’ Loopholes Detracting From Effectiveness of Phys. Ed.

By Bryan Toporek — November 13, 2012 1 min read
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Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 38 states require schools to provide students with physical education in elementary, middle/junior high, and high school, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Heart Association.

However, a majority of those states allow exemptions, waivers, and/or substitutions that allow students to satisfy the physical education requirement in alternative ways, which “reduce[s] the effectiveness of the mandate,” according to the report.

The 2012 Shape of the Nation report aims to examine the current state of physical education, as an update to the 2006 and 2010 versions of the report.

Since the 2006 report, the number of states requiring schools to provide physical education has risen across the board. Back in 2006, 36 states mandated phys. ed. at the elementary level, 33 states did at the junior/middle school level, and 42 did at the high school level.

Now? Forty-three states require phys. ed. at the elementary level, 41 at the junior/middle school level, and 44 at the high school level, according to the new report.

However, the number of states allowing exemptions or waivers from phys. ed. has also increased, going from 18 in the 2006 report to 28 in the 2012 report. A total of 33 states permit schools to allow students to substitute other activities for their required physical education, the report says.

The only state that doesn’t have its own standards for physical education is Iowa, but at least 10 states with their own standards don’t require local districts to comply or align with said standards.


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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.