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Gemini
2008-Apr-09, 04:03 AM
This was discussed in my band class recently, PE vs Electives?
The email about it ran as such:

There is currently a bill before the state legislature that could
eliminate your child's ability to be involve in the band program
starting next year. Rep. Ken Guin has introduced a bill that would
require high school students to take 4 years of P.E. instead of the
one semester that is currently required. This would prevent most
regular diploma students and all advanced diploma students from being
able to be in band or any other activity because these elective hours
would be taken up by the new P.E. requirements, as well as, the
classes that are already required for their diplomas. Not to mention,
this would eliminate the jazz band program and instrumental techniques
classes because students just would not have the time in their
schedule.

The bill is called House Bill 83, and is aimed at making our students
more healthy in schools. Ken Guin was resently diagnosed with Type 2
Diabetes, so he is making it his personal crusade to save the children
of Alabama from themselves.

What he doesn't realize is the damage that this bill will do to
students throughout the state. I believe that our band students
already receive more physical activity in the marching band than they
ever would in a regular P.E. class. There are actually studies that
have been conducted at Auburn University that have proven that
students involved in marching band receive an ample amount of physical
activity. More than the average healthy Americans. It is obviously
very important that the students receive a well-rounded education that
includes band, chorus, and drama. This will not happen if this bill
passes.
I personally hope it doesn't pass.

FriedPhoton
2008-Apr-09, 04:10 AM
I think a crusade against soda machines in schools would be a bit more effective. Oh, and let's not forget nutrition EDUCATION... wait... that's stupid, they're in school, there's laws against learning in public school now aren't there?

Neverfly
2008-Apr-09, 04:13 AM
Plus P.E. is a required course pretty much all their lives at that point. If they haven't learned Health by the time they finish their sophomore year of High school- another year or two isn't gonna make a dent in their habits....

BigDon
2008-Apr-09, 04:55 AM
Its an hour a day. Do it in the morning.

Whirlpool
2008-Apr-09, 05:01 AM
And P.E. was my one of my favorite subject back in school.

:p

Neverfly
2008-Apr-09, 05:50 AM
Its an hour a day. Do it in the morning.

No, that's P.T. ;)

Jim
2008-Apr-09, 12:23 PM
A quick note...

You are free to discuss the pros and cons of PE, PT, band, basket weaving class all you want. Just don't discuss any specific legislation.

That is, keep it non-political, please.

Moose
2008-Apr-09, 01:11 PM
Oh, don't get me started on PE. Yeah, PE's not a bad thing, but there are logistical issues involved that I'm not convinced are best handled by the school system. Other than the locker room issues (the balance between hygene and bullying), PE was a one-size-fits few solution.

There weren't many units that I actually enjoyed: badminton, distance running (11th and 12th grade, two weeks each), cross-country skiing (which we only did in 12th grade, one week's worth), dodge ball (which we stopped doing by middle-school), golf (two classes, 12th grade, and only with wiffle-balls and cheapo irons in an improvised indoor range).

But it's not so much what I experienced in school that gets my back up as an adult (although it does), but what I didn't experience. To say the musical education in my school district was token is being generous. What mus-ed we had was a colossal waste of time. Six years and all we had to show for it was one song - just one - on the Recorder, and it only used two notes: sol and la. Six years.

There's more, a lot more, but it's basically maudlin bitter kind-of-obsessive ranting, so I'll resist the temptation and spare you guys anything other than the executive summary: I could express interest in any instrument I wanted, as long as it was the guitar (my father) or the glockenspiel (music teacher). I was actively denied/discouraged from wanting to play anything else in the years that mattered. And so now I'm musically illiterate.

My school system had virtually no funding. The math program was ace, but that was mostly on the strength of the 12th grade teacher for the optional advanced classes where he had a free hand to push us. Hard. We didn't have much else going for us.

Jim
2008-Apr-09, 05:53 PM
I received a PM about my note above. Rather than respond individually, let me try to clarify for everyone...

It probably could have been worded better. The intent is to keep anyone from promoting a politcal agenda. You can certainly support a position such as "PE is essential to the well-being etc etc" w/o taking a partisan political position... "HB 456 is good/bad legislation and any Dem/Rep who is against/for it is..."

Since a specific piece of legislation and a specific legislator were mentioned in the OP, I felt a reminder was warranted.

Feel free to dissect the absolute and/or relative value of PE, or any other school course. Also, as long as it doesn't become specifically political, the role of government is a fair topic.

Jeff Root
2008-Apr-09, 06:22 PM
Moose,

I went to elementary school in the late 50's and early 60's. I don't recall
musical instruments in the classroom. We had at least one hour a week of
singing in fifth grade. It could have been much more than an hour. Maybe
90 minutes every other day. (Trading off with Spanish on alternate days.)
It's hard for me to believe that fifth grade was the only year we had singing,
but I don't remember it any other year. We performed at least one song, a
Christmas song set to the Greensleeves melody, at the Christmas auditorium
program. It's also hard for me to believe we did that only three months after
we started. Greensleeves was used extensively in the movie How the West
was Won, which I saw in the theatre about a year previously, and I still
think it is fabulously beautiful. So I was enthusiastic about the music even
if I had pretty much given up on Christianity by that time. My ability to hit
notes left something to be desired, though, and nobody had to tell me, so I
tended to sing at the minimal volume level I thought I could get away with.

The school also had a separate music/band class which took place during the
school day, so kids got out of regular class for it (again I don't recall if it was
every day, every other day, or once a week). Somehow I enrolled, and tried
trumpet and/or coronet, and saxophone. I do not have the ability to control
the rapid finger movements required. My own assessment. Nobody said that.
In any case I didn't progress and the teacher kicked me out.

In junior high school we had four different "arts" classes each year: Music,
home economics, visual/graphic arts, and drafting/woodworking shop. Each
class was 90 minutes long but alternated every other day with P.E. Again I
don't recall using instruments in the music class. My main recollection was
that the teacher (Donald Bulfur, the only teacher who ever showed up at a
class reunion that I attended.) sometimes played music on a phonograph,
including the Grand Canyon Suite and something by Gershwin (probably
Rhapsody in Blue, of course).

Although it was taught to me, I never learned to read music. I can sort of
work it out one.... note.... at.... a.... time.

I can't imagine the problems with gym classes and especially locker-room and
shower issues. That must be so difficult that it seems almost unbelievable that
P.E. classes manage to happen. My main gripe about P.E. is essentially the
same as my big gripe about school in general: We spent way too much time
standing around waiting or "getting ready" to do things and not nearly enough
time actually doing them. We could have got three times as much physical
activity if the time had been better organized.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Matherly
2008-Apr-09, 06:26 PM
I don't remember how much PE was required at my HS...

BUT, my time in the Marching Band was applied against it. In other words, my 4 semesters of Band (I'm only counting Falls here since we didn't march in the spring) counted as 4 semesters of PE credit.

Maybe this is the best of both worlds? It allows students who are intrested in things like the band, sports, cheerleading, and other physically involving endevors to particiapte, but also gets the students who arn't involved moving during the day.

Jeff Root
2008-Apr-09, 06:47 PM
I could express interest in any instrument I wanted, as long as it was
the guitar (my father) or the glockenspiel (music teacher).
Let me guess: The guitar is the only instrument your father thought
you'd be able to handle that didn't cost a mint and wouldn't make a
deafening racket when you played it. The glockenspiel was the only
instrument the music teacher had available.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Moose
2008-Apr-09, 07:21 PM
Let me guess: The guitar is the only instrument your father thought you'd be able to handle that didn't cost a mint and wouldn't make a deafening racket when you played it. The glockenspiel was the only instrument the music teacher had available.

Not so much. It was a combination of Dad wanting me to follow in his footsteps and the fact he already had guitars. I don't have long hands, so even as an adult, I can't stretch far enough for some of the chording without considerable discomfort (and IIRC, I couldn't strum a G to save my life.) That, and I'm not a "follow in footsteps" kind of guy. The guitar just isn't my instrument. I felt pressured and I resisted. Dad switched to the piano five years ago anyway, so it's all good.

The music teacher started me on the glockenspiel because he needed someone to play the glockenspiel to support his choir, I couldn't sing, and he trusted me to handle it. And I did pretty well. The school concert went well and we won the recital. Where he and I differed is that I wasn't interested in only the glockenspiel, although I did enjoy my time on it. I have a thing for all percussion instruments, especially the Jamaican steel drum, which I've secretly lusted for all my life.

Anyway, the music teacher had an "open house" sort of class where he laid out a large variety of instruments, and I made the mistake of ignoring the glockenspiel for the only drum, a snare. (I'd have gone for his tympanies if he'd have brought them out of storage.) That, as they say, pretty much nipped my musical 'career' in the bud. I never got a lick of support after that.

As for my folks, I'm honestly not sure if they thought "no way" or just never clued in as to how strongly I'd felt about it. But kids who feel actively discouraged on something new they're passionate about will often never bring it up again. I even stopped playing the harmonica my grandfather gave me, and never touched the recorder once the music program stopped after grade 6.

The Backroad Astronomer
2008-Apr-09, 07:34 PM
never liked highschool PE, being an overweight asthmatic even then. Another fact was the teacher never really liked him but I found a couple of years ago he was found out well doing things with the female students he should not of doing. The thing with our local school district lately is converting shop areas into like an are for the wrestling team to practice.

Fazor
2008-Apr-09, 07:45 PM
Okay, step back from the issue and the e-mail for a second and look at it objectively. Does it sound like anything other than scare-tactic propaganda? I mean, they act like "If X then Y HAS TO HAPPEN!"...but fail to address alternatives. In this particular case, an act is proposed that would add a mandatory class. Well, we all know you can't add a class without taking away a class. And (apparently) it's common sense that there's already only room for ONE class that's not core cirriculum (personally, I had upwards of two or three electives per semester, but different school so can't assume the same).

What they ignore is the possibility of making band an after school activity...which at many schools it already is. In fact, they chose to not explore or attempt any alternatives other than their dooms-day prophecy. It might not be ideal to re-work this particular scenario to allow for both PE and band...but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

I'm not trying to be political here; the point I'm trying to make is you need to approach these real life issues the same way you approach anything...critically. Look at both sides, and try to be as objective as you can. It's tough when you have strong personal ties (e.g., I loved band! But I hated PE!). But ignore those and see what you can come up with. Don't just take something as true because it agrees with your own ideals.

Whirlpool
2008-Apr-09, 11:38 PM
I love P.E. because of Sports, I love Volleyball, Badminton and Swimming. We had Dance Class too but unfortunately , my school doesn't offer much of those Music inclined classess like the Band, here when you want to be a member of the Campus Marching Band, you have to audition, it is not part of our P.E. Curriculum.

Tinaa
2008-Apr-09, 11:59 PM
Our schools, sixth through twelfth, offer a PE class called Outdoor Ed. The kids love it. They learn lifetime sports like fishing, rock climbing, archery, canoing, biking, skating, etc.
The high school offers stuff like skateboarding, bowling, pilates/yoga and other stuff. We also have a very good band, choir and theatre program. Our athletic programs are certainly well taken care of.

I live in a really poor district. Our school really strives to offer many choices for our kids. Why can't other districts?

Trebuchet
2008-Apr-10, 04:35 AM
My schools required PE through grade 10. I was overjoyed to be done with it because, as an out-of-shape skinny nerd, I couldn't do any of it well. The teachers were uniformly jerks as well.

Unfortunately my college required all freshmen to take three quarters of PE. They gave us a PE test during orientation which I of course failed and had to take the "remedial" gym course. Then when I was a senior they changed the curriculum and required 6 quarters so I had to sign up for three more time-wasting 1 credit classes. Golf, Archery, and Tennis as I recall. I wasn't any good at those, either.

The "Outdoor Ed" class seems like a great idea, as do some of the other offerings. Times have changed, at least in some places.

Neverfly
2008-Apr-10, 05:01 AM
My schools required PE through grade 10. I was overjoyed to be done with it because, as an out-of-shape skinny nerd, I couldn't do any of it well. The teachers were uniformly jerks as well.(snip)
The "Outdoor Ed" class seems like a great idea, as do some of the other offerings. Times have changed, at least in some places.

I was always good at sports and activities- but I do not like playing organized sports.

I tend to be a Lone wolf- not a team player.

Moreso- I noticed that P.E. was always like "recess". You didn't really learn anything about physical fitness or health- you just had to run around a track or play a sport.
This usually caused a separation between the fit jocks and the unfit kids- which exacerbated social problems.

I recall a Mr Highberger as a Gym Teacher, that actually did make an effort to teach about cardio vascular health, what gym training meant, the highs and lows and how to train properly. But he was rare, most instructors were more like playground chaperone's.

I always found P.E. to be useless and noneducational. It caused you to get sweaty armpits between math class and chemistry.

Maksutov
2008-Apr-10, 05:04 AM
[edit]Unfortunately my college required all freshmen to take three quarters of PE. They gave us a PE test during orientation which I of course failed and had to take the "remedial" gym course. Then when I was a senior they changed the curriculum and required 6 quarters so I had to sign up for three more time-wasting 1 credit classes. Golf, Archery, and Tennis as I recall. I wasn't any good at those, either...Damn shame it wasn't slingshots, catapults, and trebuchets.

I had PE all through HS. Did fine with one exception, the "exercise" where one lay on one's back, got on one's feet and hands, and then had to spring into a squatting position. Due to my long torso and short legs, I couldn't do the maneuver and was subjected to much scorn from the gym teacher. That was during freshman year. After becoming an effective big ugly on the football team's line, the gym teacher (who was also the football coach) ceased his criticism.

Some of it was embarrassing for a few of the guys. Apparently some of my fellow students had never been in communal showers before, and well, how shall I say it?, had unfortunate reactions, much to the amusement of a lot of their comrades.

Overall it was a good experience for the athletically inclined, a traumatic one for the athletically disinclined.

Neverfly
2008-Apr-10, 05:09 AM
Overall it was a good experience for the athletically inclined, a traumatic one for the athletically disinclined.

When we got to High School- it got to be almost a habit to pick the athletically challenged kids onto your team as a protective measure and to cover for them a bit.

Maksutov
2008-Apr-10, 06:52 AM
When we got to High School- it got to be almost a habit to pick the athletically challenged kids onto your team as a protective measure and to cover for them a bit.Good for you. :clap:

Guess things were a bit more Nietzschean in the early 60s.

Tog
2008-Apr-10, 07:39 AM
For me, running sucks. I've never been good ant anything that required that type of endurance. Ironically, my HS PE credits were all covered by 3 years on the track team. I did the long jump, high jump, 100 meters and 4 by 100 relay. Being on the track team meant I had to run less than if I'd been in regular PE.

For music, I had one semester in the 7th grade. None was required for high school. That class had nothing to do with instruments. It was about music. how to read sheet music, counting time, what the various instruments were and so on. I think the closest we came to actually making music was clapping to see if we could find the beat.

I think a big part of why music isn't stressed much in Utah is because the dominant religion is a strong advocate of kids learning it at home. I think half my school could play the piano.

One required subject I did struggle with was art. In order to graduate I need 1.5 years of art. I need a drafting set to make a recognizable stick figure. I failed two quarters of arts and crafts (and hence have an unhealthy loathing for origami cranes). I did learn how to pick locks in that class, which has actually been far more useful in my life than being able to do needlepoint. I ended up having to take remedial arts and crafts to graduate. As there was not remedial arts and crafts program, I ended up painting sets during the drama teacher's prep hour.

As for after school for band, I'm not sure that's actually legal here. It would take some looking into. I think it would be okay as long as it was something actually controlled by the school. Here's what happened:

In the late 80s there were many after school clubs. Sports, RPG, scrap booking, and so on. I don't think we had a chess club, but if we did, this would have been okay. Basically, these were clubs that were run and controlled by students, but took place on school grounds, usually in a classroom while the teacher hung around to grade papers or just hang out. We were actually starting an "assassination" game, where you get targets and have to take them out with water guns. That got dropped because the principal claimed water on the stairs would be a safety issue. It actually made it a lot further than would have expected. The drama teacher was actually going to play, and had a hand in making the rules.

Anyway, these extra curricular clubs were doing well, and all schools had them to some degree, when one school decided to form a gay-lesbian group. It was to a support group type of thing where students that felt they might fit into one of those groups could meet others and see that they were not alone. This was fought hard by many groups,but there was no way the state could legally exclude that club while permitting all of the other ones. The solution was to do away with ALL extra curricular clubs on school property.

Yay! Yay for narrow minds. :mad: For the record, most of the people I remember talking about it at the time placed all of the blame on the protesters, not the group.

NEOWatcher
2008-Apr-10, 01:07 PM
It may be a good idea to force a bit of excercise, but the issue is, how much education is being taken away?
Sure; you're getting rid of band or some other electives, but if the student was like me, then the electives were more of a choice of an educational subject rather than a choice of an activity or artistic pursuit. (For example, one of my electives was aviation)
And 4 years rather than 1 semester? That's not an increase of 4, it's 8.

There are only 64 total classes in that 4 years (based on my education many moons ago). We now have removed over 10% (7/64) of total class time to the devotion of PE.

My solution would be to combine it with the normal health education. Increase health education a bit if needed, and incorporate the physical activity a couple of times a week.
Not only are we not taking as much away from education time, but we would be enforcing that connection between activity and health.

mugaliens
2008-Apr-10, 11:24 PM
guh... Efforts like this make me upset.

Why not both?

Mandate PE (kids need it) and allow their choice of electives. If they want to take band, fine. If they want to take astronomy, fine. If they want to take advanced math, or theater, or art, or photography, or home ec, or basket-weaving... FINE.

That's just an individual's choice that matches their interests, and ALL kids need to explore their interests. If they want to stick with photography, going through photography 1, 2, and 3 over a couple of years, then give them the opportunity to take some more advanced courses at either a local community college or even a fine arts school. If they want to take a different class each term (the Renaissance approach), FINE.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic. Let's see... That's just TWO hours a day (reading/writing being one...).

History is a third (we have to learn how not to repeat our mistakes...)

PE is a fourth.

Electives (whatever they want, INCLUDING if it's an advanced PE class) makes up a fifth.

Lunch is a sixth hour, and that's what made up my school day from grade 1 through 12.

School's out, so am I, yet I'm STILL studying. I probably spend 2 hrs a day learning about one thing or another.

Love it!

But when someone tries to cram one thing down my kids' throat while taking away another...

There is a way to compromise on this issue so that kids get the exercise they need without taking away their ability to choose an elective and while at the same time ensuring they're getting a full educational complement at the same time.

NEOWatcher
2008-Apr-11, 12:58 PM
guh... Efforts like this make me upset.

Why not both?
Time...

Off the top of my head... add in economics, social studies, a variety of basic sciences.

I'm not sure how it works over there, or how it works now, but what you are describing is very similar to how it worked when I went to high school.

We had required classes, required electives, and open electives. There were two sets of requirements... Vocational, and pre-college.

Required classes were specifics... Health, history, social studies, etc.
Required electives were catagories of classes with minimum numbers of hours. x amount of languages, x amount of PE, x amount of maths, x amount of sciences.
And open electives were just the balance of the required hours of education that were not spelled out in the required area... Band, basket weaving, photography, etc.

Our schedule worked very much like a college. We went in an applied for classes and juggled our own schedules to meet the requirements.

We can spin our wheels giving our opinions as to what is needed. But; we are doing that with only a mention of one subject. Not a whole heck of a lot to go on.

Any of you High Schoolers out there... Do you have a breakdown of your requirements?

BigDon
2008-Apr-11, 01:42 PM
Neo, I was class of '78. So it was the same for me.

I got all my requirements out of the way early in my scholastic career. So by the time I was a senior my six classes were 2 periods of art, one period Teacher's Assistant art, (I wasn't wasting time, I was good at it) PE (weightlifting), Biology and Algebra (again, take two) I loved my senior year.

Jeff Root
2008-Apr-11, 04:16 PM
Don,

Do you have any art online?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Tinaa
2008-Apr-12, 02:21 PM
In Texas (minimum plan)
English language arts--four credits. The credits must consist of:

(A) English I, II, and III (English I for Speakers of Other Languages and English II for Speakers of Other Languages may be substituted for English I and II only for immigrant students with limited English proficiency); and

(B) Fourth credit of English, which may be satisfied by English IV, Research/Technical Writing, Creative/Imaginative Writing, Practical Writing Skills, Literary Genres, Business Communication, Journalism, or concurrent enrollment in a college English course.

(2) Mathematics--three credits to include Algebra I and Geometry.

(3) Science--two credits. The credits must consist of Biology and Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC). A student may substitute Chemistry or Physics for IPC and then must use the second of these two courses as the academic elective credit identified in subsection (b)(6) of this section.

(4) Social studies--two and one-half credits. The credits must consist of World History Studies (one credit) or World Geography Studies (one credit), United States History Studies Since Reconstruction (one credit), and United States Government (one-half credit).

(5) Economics, with emphasis on the free enterprise system and its benefits--one-half credit. The credit must consist of Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits.

(6) Academic elective--one credit. The credit must be selected from World History Studies, World Geography Studies, or any science course approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) for science credit as found in Chapter 112 of this title (relating to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science). If a student elects to replace IPC with either Chemistry or Physics as described in subsection (b)(3) of this section, the academic elective must be the other of these two science courses.

(7) Physical education--one and one-half credits to include Foundations of Personal Fitness (one-half credit).

(A) A student may not earn more than two credits in physical education toward state graduation requirements.

(B) The school district board of trustees may allow a student to substitute certain physical activities for the required credits in physical education, including the Foundations of Personal Fitness. The substitutions must be based on the physical activity involved in drill team, marching band, and cheerleading during the fall semester; Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC); athletics; Dance I-IV; two- or three-credit career and technology work-based training courses, and off-campus physical education.

(C) In accordance with local district policy, a school district may award up to two credits for physical education for appropriate private or commercially-sponsored physical activity programs conducted on or off campus. The district must apply to the commissioner of education for approval of such programs, which may be substituted for state graduation credit in physical education. Such approval may be granted under the following conditions:

(i) Olympic-level participation and/or competition includes a minimum of 15 hours per week of highly intensive, professional, supervised training. The training facility, instructors, and the activities involved in the program must be certified by the superintendent to be of exceptional quality. Students qualifying and participating at this level may be dismissed from school one hour per day. Students dismissed may not miss any class other than physical education.

(ii) Private or commercially-sponsored physical activities include those certified by the superintendent to be of high quality and well supervised by appropriately trained instructors. Student participation of at least five hours per week must be required. Students certified to participate at this level may not be dismissed from any part of the regular school day.

(8) Health education--one-half credit, which may be satisfied by Health 1 or Advanced Health, or Health Science Technology--one credit, which may be satisfied by Introduction to Health Science Technology, Health Science Technology I, or Health Science Technology II.

(9) Speech--one-half credit. The credit must consist of Communication Applications.

(10) Technology applications--one credit, which may be satisfied by:

(A) the following courses in Chapter 126 of this title (relating to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications): Computer Science I, Computer Science II, Desktop Publishing, Digital Graphics/Animation, Multimedia, Video Technology, Web Mastering, or Independent Study in Technology Applications;

(B) the following courses in Chapter 120 of this title (relating to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Business Education): Business Computer Information Systems I or II, Business Computer Programming, Telecommunications and Networking, or Business Image Management and Multimedia; or

(C) the following courses in Chapter 123 of this title (relating to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Education/Industrial Technology Education): Computer Applications, Technology Systems (modular computer laboratory-based), Communications Graphics (modular computer laboratory-based), or Computer Multimedia and Animation Technology.

(c) Elective Courses--five and one-half credits. The credits must be selected from the list of courses specified in 74.61(g) of this title (relating to High School Graduation Requirements).

Gemini
2008-Apr-12, 03:17 PM
Neo, I was class of '78. So it was the same for me.

I got all my requirements out of the way early in my scholastic career. So by the time I was a senior my six classes were 2 periods of art, one period Teacher's Assistant art, (I wasn't wasting time, I was good at it) PE (weightlifting), Biology and Algebra (again, take two) I loved my senior year.

You graduated the same year as my dad.

Jim
2008-Apr-12, 04:24 PM
There will be a brief pause while BigDon tries to salvage what's left of his ego...

Moose
2008-Apr-12, 05:30 PM
Heh, so as to not rub it in too much, I won't point out that I was only five years old in '78.