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Should Activities Like Marching Band Satisfy State Physical Education Requirements?

Should Activities Like Marching Band Satisfy State Physical Education Requirements?

South Carolina is close to passing legislation that would allow for participation in the marching band to satisfy required physical education credits.

Sen. Vincent Sheehen introduced the legislation after his experience watching his son participate in high school band.

"My observation is that my son, who is in marching band, consistently for a longer period of time gets more exercise than my sons who have just one semester of PE, which is the requirement,” Sheheen said, according to The Post and Courier.

“When these kids get into marching band, unlike a semester of PE, they end up staying three, four years. So they’re getting the exercise over that longer period of time.”

Advocates believe such legislation would get more kids involved in band and the physical activity that goes into it.

Critics, however, don’t believe activities like marching band warrant an exemption from P.E. class.

John Fiore, a physical education teacher and instructional coordinator told WTTW earlier in the month that he believes there is no substitute for the healthy lifestyle learned through a P.E. teacher. And it’s not just marching band Fiore holds issue with- it’s any activity outside of the class taking precedence over P.E.

“Say someone is getting physical activity with their soccer team or through gymnastics. They are getting activity, but they’re not looking at the teacher’s role...In physical education classes, teachers are held to standards and there’s more to physical education than activity,” he said, according to the article.

According to the recently published report, Shape of the Nation: Status of Physical Education in the USA, 31 states allow other activities to serve as substitutions for physical education credit, which the report says undermines the basic requirements that states put in place for P.E.

The report concluded that "while effective physical education and physical activity programs are essential in the formative growth of children and adolescents, there is a large disparity in state requirements and implementation, affecting children’s ability to engage in and benefit from these programs."

Where do YOU stand? Should activities like marching band count towards P.E. exemptions? Weigh-in with our poll below.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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