Bill would add physical education requirements, extend school day in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS — Doctors and fitness experts agree that the more you move, the healthier you are.

State Sen.Dennis Kruse (R-District 14) said that’s the principle behind his proposed legislation.

“I met with the Indiana State Medical Association and they are very concerned with obesity,” Kruse said.

Kruse is sponsoring a bill currently in the Senate Committee for Education and Career Development that would require 30 minutes of physical activity each day for Indiana students in grades K-12.

He said right now there are no standardized Physical Education requirements statewide.

“One of the schools in my area doesn’t even have P.E. or recess and it was an uproar in the community,” said Kruse.

Senate Bill 0333 [text here] would require each public and charter school to do at least 30 minutes of physical education a day for students as part of a class or part of recess. The time could be split into two 15 minute sessions. The bill would also require schools to report heath and fitness data to the State Department of Health and to teach students about Body Mass Index.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana is the 8th most obese state. About 16 percent of adolescents are considered overweight. Roughly 14 percent of young children are obese.

Kruse said research shows physical activity also helps students perform better in other classes.

“Healthier students, higher academic performance and more balanced life style so that our young people understand that getting exercise is important,” Kruse said.

Megan Spoonemore, a P.E. teacher in the North Salem school district agreed.

“I think that the kids who are able to be up and be active can focus better when they’re in the classroom, even sitting for eight hours a day for an adult is hard,” she said.

Spoonemore said her students at Pittsboro Elementary School are getting 155 minutes of physical activity a week. She’d be on board with getting students 30 minutes a day.

“The Kids who want to be physically active are always going to be physically active. It’s the kids who need that little bit of a push that need something they really like to get them up and doing something. Even if it’s just walking, it’s better than sitting and doing nothing,” she said.

Kruse said he didn’t want to take time away from other subjects, so the bill would actually extend the school day by 30 minutes to make room for the extra fitness time. He said he can see that becoming an issue for the bill moving forward.

Another big obstacle could be money, as many districts are already facing tight budgets and spending cuts.

“I don’t know how it’s going to happen because I’m not sure with funding and teacher cuts and pay that [districts] can work it in. But the kids think it’s a great idea, so if it can work out, I think it sounds great,” Spoonemore said.

18 comments

  • karrie

    Sorry , but adding 30 min to the school day would take away more from homework time for those students that need extra time to do homework, and family time. Its the parents that need to watch what thier kids eat and do.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree, Anonymous. The Federal and State governments already have too much control over our children and families.

    • Big Picture

      Respectfully, I believe many of us are missing the point. If spending an extra 30 minutes would help prevent obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, depression, hypertension, and help increase self esteem, quality of life, IMPROVED PERFORMANCE IN ACADEMICS, and ultimely save you child's life, would everyone be so quick to dismiss the idea? Physical activity has been PROVEN to accomplish all of the previous items. We are talking about kids, not adults, and if the unfortunate child whos parents do not see the benifit vs. the risk in schools cutting physical activity, do we as a society set turn our backs on them and the consequences?

      • Bobref

        YOU are exactly right. Very well said. This has NOTHING to do with athletics, or cutting into other curriculum's – has everything to do with a child's self-esteem and giving kids the opportunity to stay HEALTHY.

    • Father or Two

      Exactly, physical activities should take place before or after school. My two daughters have well-structures activities throughout the week and extending the school day would shorten their other activities and have the opposite effect for them as I doubt the public school sessions would be as beneficial. I say find other ways to get the lazy kids off the couch.

  • Bev

    Children need exercise for their bodies and their minds. I hope they add another 30 minutes and work in some type of exercise progam.

  • Bobref

    ….and when your kids die because they are FAT, you'll blame the schools for not having enough PE…."HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS STILL DIES!" More time for homework? Are you kidding? Do you have kids? They don't DO homework – it's done in school. God forbid we REQUIRE our children to MOVE and SWEAT.

  • Max Power

    Bobref, where in the world do your kids go to school? I want to send mine there, because I've about had it with the two hours of homework that mine have every night!

  • Rick

    It is obvious that many of you should not have had children by your comments on this topic. Homework?? God forbid that a STUDENT should need to do homework whether it be 1/2 hour or 3 hours. Does the student staying up to do homework cut into the parents drinking or drugging time?? And phys ed, probably tough for a lot of them to do with their pants hanging down to their knees. WTF !! Physical education was ALWAYS part of the school day in past decades. Does this really need to come from government legislation? Common sense has left the building……………..along with Fat Elvis.

    • Father or Two

      Homework used to be a way to enforce what was taught as school but it seems it has turned into a catch-up for what is a failure to teach effectively at school. Phys Ed should not be part of school curriculum at all, it should be up to responsible parents to plan activities before and after school. Do not cut into my family time!! That's just my .02.

  • Max Power

    Rick, do you do three hours of work every night after being at work all day? That's the reality for some of these poor kids today. Talk about bad diets, bad parenting and technology all you want, but I blame homework for a big part of childhood obesity. Kids should be spending their evenings with family, playing outside, or pursuing sports or hobbies.

  • Big Picture

    Lets try a different approach: would you be open to cuttting 8 periods by 4 minutes each(more efficiency) to allow for the 30 minutes of Physical Education without extending the school day?

  • Bob

    Great comment from Big Picture, finally someone with common sense. I see kids in the winter going to catch the bus in the dark, and getting home almost at dusk. Another 30 minutes could have them going and coming in the dark, and that is irresponsible!!

  • Clayton

    I am fine with it as long as they start school 30 min early and do the work out then, to wake the kids up. They should also have optional activities after school that are free, could be anything like dodgeball or weightlifting. All of the schools have these facilities so it would not cost anything extra. As far as the lack of education in public schools I blame teachers, administration, and the DoE. Unions don't make for better education, they represent teachers pay and their own dues not the teachers ability to teach. That is why my children will never step foot into a public school. It is just too bad the government punishes parents who go the extra mile to provide better opportunities to their children. I guess that wouldn't be fair to all the stupid people who are breading and living off the government already.

  • Steve

    The middle schools in Pike township effectively eliminated gym except as part of a rotating block. Many of the athletic teams are so competitive that the kids who need the exercise most are cut. At Pike High School, you need a permit to walk to school. I think they should look for ways for more kids to walk to school, then if that frees up buses, start the school day later which will help achievement at the high school level, and finally, they should provide more opportunities for intramural athletics,

  • R. Walker

    I am a PE teacher in a large school corporation. I am happy that our government thinks physical activity is good for our students. I am saddened by how little the government understands how schools work.
    My school has 720 students (5 sections of each grade level, K-5th+1 Life skills class). Our students receive 50 minutes of PE per week, which means I see 31 classes per week. With the current schedule all my time is filled. I teach straight through the day with less than 30 minutes for lunch. How do they think adding 30 minutes to the school day will enable us to have PE every day with all our classes? Come on Senator, investigate the schools before making grand plans for things that cannot be done.

  • Rbelcher

    It won't pass. Lengthening the day would cause a problem with athletic teams being able to leave on time. If I've learned anything about schools, you don't mess with the lunch period or the athletic schedule.

Comments are closed.