Student Well-Being


March 21, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

N.Y.C. Flunks PE: Students in New York City public schools are being shortchanged in physical education and interscholastic sports, says a report detailing the decline of physical education offerings in the nation’s largest school system.

The 122-page report, “Hit or Miss: Fitness and Sports Opportunities in the New York City Public Schools,” describes a 1.1 million- student system where physical education resources have dwindled dramatically.

The report by Educational Frameworks Inc., a New York-based research and consulting firm, was prepared for New Visions for Public Schools, an education reform group that works to raise student-achievement levels in the city.

In the past 10 years, the report notes, the number of physical education teachers in the system has remained the same despite an enrollment increase of 200,000 students. The researchers received survey results from one- third of the system’s schools. Among the report’s findings:

•Forty-one percent of elementary schools and 23 percent of high schools do not provide regular physical education classes.

•The pupil-teacher ratio for physical education is 730-to-1 in elementary schools.

•Only about one in 10 high school students gets to play on a competitive-sports team—the lowest participation rate of any major school district in the country, according to the report.

•Most physical education teachers in New York elementary schools are not trained in physical education and don’t have the trained supervision required by state regulations.

“The long history of neglect of fitness and sports in the public schools requires a strong message from civic and educational leaders,” said Nancy Lederman, the report’s author.

The current condition of physical education and sports programs, the report says, dates to drastic budget cuts in the 1970s. The scale-back continued into the early 1990s, when the school system’s office of health, physical education, and school sports, which served as a clearinghouse for information on curriculum and practices, was dismantled.

Recommendations from the report range include monitoring the implementation of learning standards in physical education and recruiting more physical education teachers.

New York school officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Highlights of the report, “Hit Or Miss: Fitness and Sports Opportunities in the New York City Public Schools,” are available from New Visions for Public Schools, or can be obtained by calling New Visions for Public Schools at (212) 645-5100, ext. 3020, or by visiting the group’s Web site at

—John Gehring

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 21, 2001 edition of Education Week


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Should Medical Marijuana Be Allowed in Schools?
Many states are leaving it up to schools and districts to decide if students can take cannabis as medication.
7 min read
An employee at a medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., sorts buds into prescription bottles on March 22, 2019.
An employee at a medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., sorts buds into prescription bottles in 2019.
Julio Cortez/AP
Student Well-Being Opinion How Trauma-Informed Practice Made Me a Better Teacher
Students aren’t the only ones who need help managing their emotional responses. Here’s where to start.
Melody Hawkins
4 min read
Conceptual illustration of learning through trauma
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Student Well-Being What the Feds' Latest Move on Monkeypox Vaccines Means for Young People
Adults can get a reduced dose of vaccine, but younger people would still receive the traditional shot under an emergency use authorization.
1 min read
Image of a band aid being applied after a vaccination.
Student Well-Being The Monkeypox Outbreak: What School Leaders Need to Know
Officials have declared monkeypox a public health emergency, but school leaders shouldn't panic, experts say.
4 min read
A visitor checks in at a pop-up monkeypox vaccination site at the West Hollywood Library on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in West Hollywood, Calif. The City of West Hollywood is working with public health officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in responding to the monkeypox outbreak.
A visitor checks in at a pop-up monkeypox vaccination site in West Hollywood, Calif.
Richard Vogel/AP