A new test – this one in gym

Gov. Sonny Perdue will sign a bill today requiring all Georgia public school students to take an annual fitness test.

The backers of HB 229 say the new state law will combat childhood obesity.

School systems will conduct an annual fitness test on students beginning with the 2011-12 school year. Students who meet “fitness benchmarks” will get rewarded, but kids who miss the mark won’t get punished.

Similar bills have been introduced to the Legislature these past few years before backers finally succeeded with this one.

Do you think this test will actually help curb obesity in kids?

If not, why are schools being asked to solve this problem? Schools can change their menus and offer kids healthier meals while they’re on campus. But is it a school’s job to teach healthy living?

10 comments Add your comment

Kim

April 28th, 2009
10:26 am

I say that if the students have to take fitness tests, then it is only fair that the legislators do also. The first person in line should be Sonny-boy!

V for Vendetta

April 28th, 2009
10:41 am

Here’s a novel idea: Many elementary schools–many, not all–have done away with competitive sports during PE. Students are no longer allowed to pick teams, keep scores, or play any game that could negatively impact the precious self esteem of another student. Just as in the classroom, the unable dictate what happens at the expense of the able.

Perhaps if we reintroduce competitive sports to these schools and allow students to keep scores and pick teams, the resulting peer pressure will begin to assert itself. Students will once again desire to be the best at something rather than have it spoon fed to them by the state. Self esteem and personal efficacy would increase. Students would learn that life is competition and that it doesn’t have to be fair. Heck, it SHOULDN’T be fair.

I’m disgusted by this sense of egalitarianism in schools, and I’m shocked by the hubris of politicos who cry out for it one year only to bemoan the effects of anti-competition the next. Back in the day, we used to play football, baseball, soccer, and tag everyday during recess. Now students can’t play football, baseball, and soccer because each sport requires the picking of teams, the keeping of scores, and endless physical exertion. They can’t play tag because some kids are fat and slow and it’s not fair for them to be made aware of that fact.

When does it all end!?

A few people have mentioned “Harrison Bergeron” in the past week, but I think that story applies more to elementary level PE than to anything else. Handicap the physically able so that the inept will feel better about themselves. Oh, and while you’re doing that, figure out a way to make all of these fat kids skinny again.

Brilliant.

DB

April 28th, 2009
12:22 pm

This is the dumbest thing yet. If the kids don’t test as fit — then what? “The good ones get rewarded, but the kids who miss the mark aren’t punished.” And what does THAT solve?

Not to say that the out-of-shape ones SHOULD be punished, mind you. But come ON, Mommy and Daddy know that their little darling weighs 270 lbs and subsists mostly on Little Debbie cakes, Cheetos and Gatorade, because they are the ones that are BUYING it for them. You think a little note from the school that Johnny or Judy failed their fitness test (”but they shouldn’t feel bad about it!”) is going to spark a complete change in lifestyle? Dreamers!

Bring back recess, make PE mandatory if the child is not playing a sport, and stop serving junk food in the cafeteria and the vending machines. Problem solved.

jim d

April 28th, 2009
1:59 pm

Consider that roughly 12% to 17% of americans are living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some point within a 10 year time span.
Then consider correlation between poverty and obesity which can be traced to agricultural policies and subsidies.

Then one can understand that obisetity is in fact largely caused by government. So why should they not be held responsible for helping eliminate it? Of course serving healthy meals in our schools would be more pro-active in halting the issue before it becomes aa problem.

high school teacher

April 28th, 2009
3:38 pm

What exactly does the fitness test consist of? Just because a child is overweight does not mean that he can’t pass a fitness test. On the other hand, just because a child is a healthy, normal weight does not mean he can pass a fitness test.

xnxnxnx

April 28th, 2009
4:46 pm

not good for the fat kids

catlady

April 28th, 2009
6:06 pm

Look at the parents of the kids who fail the fitness test, and also find out how many hours per day are spent parked in front of the tv/computer/nintendo. THEN legislate.

Out of shape kids have out of shape parents (it isn’t a priority). And I would be willing to say that the majority of our kids who are ADHD or BD spend 20 hours a week or more parked in front of a screen.

Legislate THAT.

Tony

April 28th, 2009
8:29 pm

This is one of the best examples implementing legislation that forces schools to do someone else’s job. The lobbying group that help push this through is none other than the network of county health agencies and some doctors. On the surface, it sounds good for school to “help fight childhood obesity.” If the legislators really wanted us to do something to improve physical fitness, they would not have robbed kids of PE time by making them participate in this assessment. They would have fully funded PE for every school to the level adequate for us to provide PE every day.

high school teacher makes a good point about who might or might not pass the test. My skinny son probably would not pass the test. But my slightly pudgy other son would. The test has not been developed yet, either.

Louise

May 3rd, 2009
5:48 pm

I taught school for 32 years. Why not let the children have recess again?? That would solve a LOT of problems. Most primary school students get only 15 minutes of recess a day.

wow just wow

May 5th, 2009
10:25 pm

V for Vendetta, you are one angry, spiteful person. Of course kids need to have PE again, and of course the kids need to participate in team sports where one team inevitably loses, but you certainly seem to relish the thought that some kids will always learn that life isn’t fair by being picked last for teams. I’ve always wondered what value letting the children pick teams added except to make some kids feel unwanted. I’m not talking self esteem here — kids can be downright mean to each other when left to their own devices. Why not require PE where the adults are in charge of picking the teams, and the kids learn to win or lose based on luck of the draw? There is no added value in humiliating that future rocket scientist just because he’s not that good at kickball ;-) It’s about getting fit and healthy, not about who has the most social clout or physical prowess, after all. By the way, I wasn’t picked last, but I always felt terrible for the ones that were. Some things (like humiliation over being picked last) don’t really need to be passed on to future generations.