Image from DALL·E. Top: Student weight lifting while studying.
Physical Education is a class that many if not all students have been required to participate in throughout their elementary and middle school years. The question is, should PE be required for high school students? Physical Education has many uses: it teaches you how to take care of your body, and how to stay fit and in shape, but many students believe that PE should not be required, as they have more important subjects to focus on. Others believe that PE should be required for a certain number of years.
Lisa Duncan, one of Washington High’s many PE teachers, believes that PE should be required for all four years of high school because it improves overall cardio and teaches students good sportsmanship. You also can learn many skills for taking care of yourself and use them throughout your life.
Now, while PE being required is a controversial topic, it is not the only topic that should be addressed. Some people have ideas and thoughts on improving our PE system. One student, Tran Doan, part of the WHS swim team, says that the way to make up for absences should be different. Right now, if you miss a day of PE, you can read one of the available sports and health articles, and then write a three paragraph report on it. Tran believes that we should not have summary articles because, “They are not equivalent to actual PE and therefore do not make up for any absences. I don’t think we should have anything to make up for absences; if you miss a day you miss that day, that’s it.”
While many students have different opinions and views on physical education, there are clear pros and cons. For instance, even if you don’t like physical education, it is still helping students stay healthy. It allows students who sit at a desk inside a classroom all day to get moving during the day. PE also helps nurture talents students may have, which in turn can help with earning scholarships from sports. For example, one of the PE units students participate in throughout school is football, which is a major high school sport. Many athletes play football, and it also gives the most scholarships compared to other sports such as basketball and track. Football players are able to not only have football practice, but also have extra practice from PE and the ability to nurture their skills during PE.
But, while there are many reasons to have PE as a required class, like everything it has downsides. PE does take out of study time for important classes that could also help with college applications, and it interferes with students’ course loads. On top of all this, not everyone was made for PE. Some will excel, while others fall behind and struggle to keep up with everyone else. This could be due to health issues or injuries. Students may get bullied if they aren’t extremely good at what they are trying to do, or if they fail a test, which impacts their mental health and could lead to more problems.
So while yes, physical education provides many tools that students could use, it also interferes with students’ daily school lives, and some are more cut out for PE than others. What do you think? Should PE be required? Should there be any changes made to how PE is taught? Leave your comments below!