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Save Money and Bring Back Recess

You have to wonder if the people who make laws regarding children have ever actually been around any kids. Tell me if this rings a bell:

No running in the halls.” “Slow down.”

There is not an elementary school in the nation where these words are not uttered on a daily basis. Why? Because elementary school kids are naturally active. They can’t sit still. I know this from my own kids, and from my time as a teacher in an elementary school. Turn them loose on a playground and watch the calories burn.

So, what’s the deal with Governor Richardson proposing $9 million dollars (subscription) in new funding to bring P.E. teachers and health centers into the elementary schools. Apparently, the folks up in Santa Fe feel this is the solution to our state’s obesity problem:

It would establish one PE teacher for every 250 students, says Secretary of Public Education Veronica Garcia.

“Currently, there’s no requirement that PE be taught by a certified PE teacher,” Garcia says, explaining that the majority of elementary schools do not offer PE by a PE instructor. While PE is required, elementary schools are not required to hire a certified PE teacher to teach it. Middle and high school PE do require certified PE teachers.

“It’s not the PE we had,” says Garcia of the proposed new PE plans. “This is more focused on lifelong fitness.”

Give me a break. There was nothing wrong with the P.E. we had as kids. Our problem is that as adults we don’t play enough. Most people are lousy when it comes to achieving balance. We avoid exercise and have lousy eating habits. Don’t tell me we weren’t taught how to eat right. My first grade son just had the same discussion about food groups that I had when I was in first grade. We have all been taught healthy eating habits. We all know that we should be exercising, but we just don’t do it. Heck, Governor Richardson was almost a professional athlete and look at his current physique.

Not every societal problem has a government solution. Sometimes a lack of personal responsibility is the culprit. By the same token, state government should become accountable to rectify the problems they have created.

“All kids need the opportunity to move,” said an APS elementary school principal who believes daily PE encourages kids to be active. “Unfortunately, a lot of schools have even cut out one of their recesses because of academic pressure.”

You’ve got to love the logic. New Mexico needs to create a new multi-million dollar program in the schools to get kids active because they have taken away the no-cost exercise program that they previously had.