News and Tribune

Floyd County

May 16, 2009

More PE classes being cut in NA-FC School Corp. as childhood obesity rates rise

The world changes each day with new gadgets to play with and more problems to worry about. Education has not been immune to those changes.

Money is tight, and educators are forced to teach to a set of standards that were not part of the curriculum 25 years ago. That combination doesn’t always allow kids to be kids.

The days of elementary students having morning and afternoon recess are long gone. And physical education class — like most nonreading, writing and arithmetic subjects — has been cut back as well.

Recently, it was announced that sixth-graders will no longer have a nine-week PE curriculum in the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. And elementary students — comprised of kindergarten through fifth-graders — participate in PE one day a week, for 40 minutes. Students at the Children’s Academy of New Albany, however, have PE twice a week.

All of this is happening at a time when child obesity rates continue to rise.

“All you have to do is look around,” said Amy Brown, a registered dietitian, clinical exercise specialist and certified diabetes educator at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services. “Look at neighborhoods, look at local schools. Childhood obesity continues to rise at an alarming rate.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children, or more than 9 million, of 6- to 19-year-olds are overweight or obese — a number that has tripled since 1980.



PE NOT A PRIORITY?

Several teachers, parents and students spoke up at a recent New Albany-Floyd County School Corp. board meeting to voice their displeasure at sixth-grade PE being cut from the daily schedule.

A change earlier this year to move all middle and high schools to a seven-period-day schedule in an effort to save money had a side effect of cutting back some art and physical education classes, according to New Albany-Floyd County Superintendent Dennis Brooks.

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