Get ready for another test

The Georgia Senate passed HB 229, which requires students taking gym complete a physical fitness test once a year. The bill, which already passed the state House, now goes to Gov. Perdue for his signature.
The bill aims to combat the problem of childhood obesity. Also, parents will get annual reports on their child’s fitness. (Although one has to wonder if parents really need a school to tell them if their child is healthy.)
The question, however, is how schools will “test” physical fitness? Some say schools could use the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge, which includes running, push-ups and sit-ups.
Of course, the state could develop a new test for schools to use.
What type of test should schools use? How do you feel about schools measuring kids’ fitness – is this something educators should even be charged with doing?

27 comments Add your comment

worried about bigger issues

March 20th, 2009
10:17 am

When was a kid my school participated in the Presidential Physical Fitness Program. Fine.
Did this really need to be legislated? Please. Maybe the legislators have a bit too much time on their hands and should take a furlough day…or how about six?

high school teacher

March 20th, 2009
10:18 am

“This bill aims to combat childhood obesity.” Translation: this bill is aimed to make overweight children feel bad about themselves because they cant’ do 30 situps in 1 minute. OR… this bill is aimed to make overweight children stress out about passing a fitness test in PE, potentially ruining their GPA if this fitness test counts as a portion of their grade.

Do you really think a fitness test in PE once a year is going to convince a child (who probably doesn’t do the grocery shopping for the household) to eat better and exercise more?


March 20th, 2009
10:24 am

One could ‘rationalize’ this is an attempt to address the overall public health challenges our country faces. Having this information will ‘hopefully’ encourage parents to follow up on items in the report that need attention. It could be cheaper to address maladies found early on that down the road. If this results in savings with our spiraling health costs, that could be a good thing.

Should/could this be done during the school day? I would thing the main concern would be the time taken away from instruction along with the current measures in place. If the schools are tasked with this, we should also have a conversation about lengthening the school day. IMO, it does not matter what test is used as long as there is a standard.

Northern Visitor

March 20th, 2009
10:43 am

Looks like you people need to give up all that pork and funnel cake. It must be rough living in GA. Not only are your kids stupid, but they are also obese.

Lisa B.

March 20th, 2009
10:54 am

Our Middle School students are required to pass minimal requirements to pass P.E. For example, they need to wear athletic shoes every day, be able to complete a mile in 16 minutes (I can do that without running), and participate in activities. We have numerous straight A students who are not on the Honor Roll because of bad grades in P.E. P.E. is a class taught by certified teachers. It is important and should be taken seriously. Maybe school is the only place some kids hear anything about the importance of exercise and healthy life styles.

Make teachers accountable, General Assembly!

March 20th, 2009
11:25 am

Teachers should be totally accountable for the health of their students. They are with them more than their parents are.

I think teachers should be accountable for being role models for health and physical fitness as well.

Every year, each teacher should be required to submit a stool sample. If not firm enough, the teacher should be placed on probation.

If a teacher is really doing their job as a role model, no teacher who considers themselves a professional should object. Some of course will, under some bogus privacy issue, or some inane reasoning that it’s the parents’ responsibility to maintain the child’s health, but the real issue is they don’t want accountability. Isn’t that disgraceful?


March 20th, 2009
11:33 am

My guess, somebody in the legislature has a friend/family member who is a PE teacher that was about to get laid off.

Let’s see, they tore down all the playground equipment because it was too dangerous. They took away recess because they had to “stay on track” all day long. They can’t play any games in PE because somebody might get their feeling hurt if they lose and instead, sit around and talk about nutrition. The kids don’t do anything once they get home because they are zonked out from all the Ritilyn and other anti ADD/ADHD drugs they take so they can sit at a desk all day long without fidgeting. And now, some folks want to extend the school day a few more hours.

Back in the day, we had three recesses per day. We had honest to goodness playground equipment – not this McDonald’s stuff you see on the playground nowadays. We had PE in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades and actually played games like basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, softball, kickball, etc, etc.

Of course, back then, mothers stayed home and actually cooked real meals. It’s all your fault. (Before all you feminists in plaid flannel shirts go ballistic on me, that wuz a joke.)

Teacher, Too

March 20th, 2009
1:11 pm

If that’s the plan, then all the junk food needs to be taken out of school. At my middle schools, there are many, many kids who bring a large bag of hot Cheetos for lunch– and eat the entire bag. I’ve had students bring the super-large Hershey’s chocolate bar and eat it for lunch. Can the teachers take that junk away from students? NO? Then we don’t need to be measuring children’s fitness if we’re going to allow them to eat crappy food in excess, which leads to obesity and unfit, unhealthy children.

BTW, I saw in the news that Michelle Obama is making healthy living part of her First Lady agenda. Good for her– with the obesity rate such as it is, kids need to see that healthy food choices can be tasty.


March 20th, 2009
1:43 pm

First we take away recess while offering our kindergarteners chocolate milk with tater tots and pizza on the same day. Afterwards we follow it up with several hours of homework, which eliminates a lot of time for playing outside. Finally we provide our children with door to door bus service. I am sure there are ways we can make an improvement in childhood obesity before adding a physical fitness tests.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Evans

March 20th, 2009
2:49 pm

Read “Spark” by Ratey, a member of the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School. He links increases in brainpower with increases in brawnpower.

Reality 2

March 20th, 2009
2:59 pm

I think legislatures must have too much time on their hands – let’s furlough them for a couple of months.

I agree with Teacher, Too, that what we should be concerned about is doing things that are under control of schools – eliminate high fat, high cal junk foods and drinks from schools. Provide time during the school days for kids to be able to freely run around.

It may not be a bad idea to provide support teachers so that they can be fit, too. Let them be role models.

Teacher, Too

March 20th, 2009
3:32 pm

I do think teachers should be role models. I try to set a good example for my students. I bring a healthy lunch to school every day- salad, a piece of fruit, a granola bar or a small (think Halloween snack size) piece of candy. On occasion, usually a Friday, I might bring a left-over piece of pizza for lunch.

I also proudly display my Peachtree Road Race numbers in my classroom and I have talked about my participation in the three day breast cancer 60 mile walk. With cancer and heart disease in my family, I try to lead a healthy lifestyle (although I do not tell them about the adult bevs I indulge in during the weekend and summertime–of course, only after I run my four miles!)

I see too many obese teachers– and I don’t just mean overweight, I mean obese.


March 20th, 2009
4:50 pm

There are many ridiculous middle school policies that are counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle. We have 20 minutes to get through the lunch line and attempt to inhale a lunch. Doesn’t this have an impact on overeating, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and other digestive disorders?? But those that make the rules must get their pound of flesh, i.e. instructional time. Even if that time is 40 minutes daily more than the state requires.
We have three minutes of mental “down-time” to change classes before everyone must be back on-task with a written warm-up activity. Better not have more than a 30-second “stream” in the bathroom. No recess; no breaks.
I can’t believe that because parents are so often in stressful environments that they would wish these insane requirements to be put on their children.
Yea, test them some more!!!
I’m sure the government is happy that we are conditioning minimum wage slave robots for future employment opportunities.


March 20th, 2009
4:59 pm

WHAT ELSE WILL WE TASK THE SCHOOLS WITH DOING? I mean, what is left? We feed, check hearing vision, teeth, scoliosis; we check blood sugar, give insulin, catherize, use feeding tubes, change diapers and sanitary napkins, handle seizures, take care of asthma, provide transportation, counsel, do social work, “coach” for graduation, watch for lice, watch for and report suspected abuse, provide anti drug instruction and antibullying instruction, provide speech, physical, and vocational rehabilitation, as well as good touch/bad touch, do character ed, teach English to nonspeakers, take care of sick and hurt kids, give medication, and what else? Oh yeah, we try to plan, conduct, and evaluation instruction for all kids, no matter what their handicaps (diagnosed or undiagnosed). We are also called upon for every money raising event and special contest there is. We provide after school care, after school remedial instruction, before and after school tutoring and challenge for the advanced, we supervise kids getting into and out of cars and buses, we clean, we put on special programs and do moneyraising events for the school. We attend endless meetings and inservice instruction.

So, yeah, we should also tell parents their kids are unfit. I agree with a poster above: checking their poop will be next.

Legislators, can you please address the immediate problems we have, or do you have ADHD and are unable to focus?


March 20th, 2009
5:20 pm

This requirement placed upon schools only pays lip service to the true need for the state to fully fund physical education in our schools. There is a state requirement for students to receive 90 hours a year (k-5) of PE/Health instruction. Unfortunately, the state does not provide enough funds for us to have PE at this level in our schools. Teachers are earned at a rate of 1 art or music or PE teacher for every 345 students. Kindergarten does not count towards earning a teacher. With 1,000 students in the school, it is impossible to have PE for every child.

The presidential fitness award is only applicable from fourth grade up. We encourage our students to earn this award. But how are we to assess our younger students?

We have recess everyday in our school. We allow many outside games (football and red rover are banned) and the students have equipment and wide-open space to enjoy their recess.

Our food service department has worked hard to improve menus that have reduced fat content and reduced sugar/simple carbohydrates. We offer salad choices that have become very popular with students. We have also increased our use of fresh fruits and vegetables. Tater tots and fries only show up occasionally.

Seems to me that our legislature is a bit out of touch with physical education in schools.

V for Vendetta

March 20th, 2009
9:56 pm

This is so stupid . . . I don’t even know where to begin. Good freaking lord. The economy is collapsing around us, and the best thing the politicos and educrats can think of doing is to pass bills mandating PE tests for fata$$es. Wonderful.

But I’m with Lee on pining for the old days. I loved me some tire swings and rec. sports in elem. school and middle school. Heaven forbid a kid get picked last now and find out sooner rather than later that he’s genetically unfortunate.


March 21st, 2009
12:54 am

Ok, the cynic in me has noticed that they are only requiring this for kids who are actually taking P.E. Isn’t this a little bass-ackwards? I mean, if kids are taking P.E., they should be exempt from the exam. The ones that you should really be worried about are the ones that aren’t taking P.E.

If you should worry about them at all — which I don’t think you should. They get nutrition preached at them in every science and biology class from 1st grade on. Everyone knows that three candy bars and a can of Dr. Pepper does not constitute a healthy lunch. Bad choices have bad consequences — in this case, obesity and being called “fatso”. But as long as those snack machines are there, and as long as the cafeterias are selling greasy pizza and fast food in lieu of real food, then they can mandate as many stupid P.E. tests as they want, and continue to be disappointed in the results.

And, as always — so what if they are tested? What are the consequences of “failing” a P.E. assessment? You get a note sent home saying, “Hey, guess what, your kid is fat!” Such a surprise this will be, to their 250 lb. mother and 300 lb. father as they take their fourth helping of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sarah Lee pound cake at dinner that night. Who on earth thinks this is going to CHANGE anything?!


March 21st, 2009
1:37 am

My home school serves three healthy home cooked meals per day. My kids run every day and participate in various sports. THEY DO NOT HAVE AN OUNCE OF FAT ON THEM! THEY HAVE NOT HAD ANY SICKNESS IN THE LAST TWO YEARS! They brush their teeth three times a day. Mass schooling is just bad for children’s health.

I have a proposal for the legislators who vote for this bill:
Let’s buy a giant scale (like the ones at the carnival) and have each House and Senate member weigh in at the beginning of the session. ANYONE OVER HIS IDEAL WEIGHT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO VOTE FOR THAT SESSION! They must also wear a lapel button that say’s “I Love Pork.” When ALL members are at their ideal weight, only then should they be allowed to pass the legislation. LET THEM LEAD BY EXAMPLE!


March 21st, 2009
1:52 am

Check out this great aerobics tune to keep the kids moving…


March 21st, 2009
2:46 am

The Prez sets a great example with his favorite sport…


March 21st, 2009
3:26 am

Wow. The economy is even worse than I thought. The White House is resorting to FREE CHILD LABOR to plant a “victory garden” for the First Family’s private use! Have that many illegals gone back home already? BUT HEY, THE PREZ WILL BE EATING HEALTHY AND KEEPING THAT WEIGHT OFF.

View From Vidalia

March 21st, 2009
12:17 pm

Most of the poster don’t know what they are talking about, especially Lida B.


March 21st, 2009
11:01 pm

While the State legislature is at it, I suggest that a bill needs to be introduced making the purchase of ALL fast foods illegal since the caloric intake of one meal typically exceeds the calories required for an entire day. Then to get children outside and moving more I also suggest passing a law banning the possession, playing, and owning of ALL video games. Soft drinks, “energy” drinks, king size candy bars, as well as other junk food need to be deemed illegal. Finally, the new bill needs to include a television clause. Television will only be permitted during the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. JHC, a 9.3% unemployment rate, in the bottom tier for public education, teen pregnancy on the rise, and this is the best that our policitians can do? I might as well move!


March 21st, 2009
11:11 pm

oops! politicians


March 22nd, 2009
8:13 pm

Does these blogs update on the weekend?

Teacher, Too

March 23rd, 2009
9:47 am

How about instead of constantly taxing the “sins”– tobacco and alcohol, how about taxing fast food? Excessive eating of fast food leads obseity, which can lead to very expensive medical problems. If there was a 1% additional sales tax, it would generate all kinds of revenue. I don’t think people would stop going to McDonalds or Chick-fil-a because of an additional penny tax.


March 23rd, 2009
11:00 am

What a joke! They have to pass a test, but no guidelines as to what that test is? Schools are unhealthy — horribly unhealthy food served in the cafeterias, little to no recess, less and less gym time. This is the legislature pretending they care about a problem by passing a law of no substance that costs no money.

I would love to see a complete overhaul of P.E. that includes working with students according to their ability (like they used to do with academics). Instead of sending all kids out to run a mile, push the athletic kids to improve on what they already can do and start the obese kids out with brisk walks instead of forcing to do something they’re not up for, teaching them to hate exercise and give up early on. And come up with some good alternatives for kids with asthma and other ailments that prevent kids from participating in some activities. When I was in school, there was no way during South GA’s peak pollen seasons that I could run any distance, but the options were run or present a doctor’s note and be relegated to the bleachers. It wasn’t until high school that I was allowed to walk a few miles each day inside the gym at a brisk pace that wouldn’t trigger an attack instead of being forced to sit off to the side as if too frail to do anything or try to run a mile on an outdoor track in 90-degree heat with pollen counts through the roof.