As Franklin High School continues to make changes to their curriculum for the coming years, one possibility that has not been discussed enough is the option of giving student athletes exemptions from physical education requirements. This is an idea that has been implemented at other area high schools, including most recently at Greendale High School, that has granted students more opportunities to advance their academic career. Removing the requirements gives them more space in their schedules, allowing them to explore other interests and take more rigorous and (arguably) more important academic classes.
The whole point of mandated physical education classes is obviously to ensure that students get enough physical activity in order to combat the nation’s rising obesity epidemic. However, school gym classes do not make enough of a difference as it is, and are definitely unnecessary for those already participating in a sport. The typical sports season in high school is about 3-4 months long, with athletes usually practicing or competing for at least 2 hours a day, five days a week. After calculations, an athlete gets a minimum of 120 hours of physical activity. A semester of gym, however, includes between 3 and 4.5 hours of exercise per week, for around 5 months. That adds up to approximately 90 hours of activity in total. This is still a generous total, considering most blocks of gym do not provide a complete hour and a half of exercise, due to the amount of time that is spent changing, going over instructions, and moving between activities. These numbers show that the amount of exercise that would be gained during a sport far exceed the amount that would be gained during a semester of gym class, proving the lack of necessity for athletes to be required to take these classes.
Many of our school’s student athletes are highly motivated individuals who have set goals in terms of their future plans. Allowing them the opportunity to take classes that are more tailored to their interests, and better prepare them for future success, is a far more sensible option than forcing them into taking one and a half credits of physical education. Especially with the ever-increasing competitiveness among college admissions, students should be given every opportunity to increase their chances of getting into their top choice schools. Letting students who already receive enough physical education choose to instead take other classes that will better prepare them for college would be a step in the right direction for FHS. You decide… check out the poll below to share your opinion.