Gym Class Heroes

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Reilly Signor, Reporter

     Believe it or not, Illinois was the first state to require at least 150 minutes of physical education each week.There are less than ten states that have adopted the same requirements.

      In the past, Belvidere North had no problem meeting those requirements; but this year, the PE staff decided to change up the fitness test requirements to make them more personal, by having minimum test scores go by age instead of gender. When really, if they wanted to make PE more personalized, the staff should just look at each student and make requirements for them based on physical capability- not how old you are.

     Also, heart rate monitors have been added to the classes to make sure students are reaching what teachers believe to be acceptable rates. Along with making students wear heart rate monitors comes an ethical issue. Some believe that holding students’ grades above their heads and forcing them to wear these heart rate monitors is an invasion of privacy. If someone is uncomfortable with wearing one, their grade shouldn’t be affected.

     All PE programs in Illinois set the same standards using FitnessGram; and this year, they changed their standards for fitness testing so as a result, Belvidere North’s standards were changed to match those. Although FitnessGram doesn’t have an Excellent zone for fitness tests, District 100 decided to add those zones to each test besides the sit and reach.

      “I do think that someone’s PE grade should affect their GPA because they should be rewarded for their time and effort,” says Mr. David Graffy, a PE teacher at North.

     There are obvious upsides to this change being: greater physical health and learning to push yourself. Along with that comes the downsides: what about the kids who can’t meet even the healthy standards for some of those tests when they are clearly trying their best? Students who try their best but still don’t meet the acceptable standards have lower grades as a result; and their entire GPA will be affected by that. Colleges look at your GPA as a reflection on academic success. So when your GPA is lowered because of a grade that doesn’t have anything to do with academics, that could have an effect on college acceptance.

     Of course, you have the option to waiver out of PE starting sophomore year, but you have to meet very specific requirements. If you’re in at least two varsity sports or in marching band, you can; but it’s unfair that if you’re in a year round sport or on a national team, you’re still required to take PE because your sport isn’t a school activity.

     Overall, physical education isn’t a terrible concept and physical health is still very important. Although, the standards and requirements at Belvidere North and in the state as a whole don’t need to be as excessive as they are.