Gym Class Physical education class brings anxiety and fear to many high school students, separating the jocks from the average awkward high schooler. Not only does gym affect the psyche, but even grades and the schools budget. Gym class should not be a required class for Iowa high school students because it does not significantly affect students’ health, it wastes money that schools could be using for more scholastic purposes, and takes away time that students could be using for academics. Physical education classes do not significantly affect students’ overall health and wellness. According to a study at Cornell University, students are only active for an average of 16 of the 45 minutes they are in P.E. class (Lang). Researchers found that adding as many as 200 minutes of physical activity per week had little to no effect on students health (Lang). While students may be active for a small portion of the class, the rest of the class is wasted being sedentary. John Cawley, an economist and associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell said, “Higher state PE requirements have no impact on weight or the probability of being overweight for either boys or girls,” (qtd. in Lang). The study, based on surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that the majority of the 37,000 high school students interviewed do not believe that gym class is effective (Chen). Iowa does not have its own standards for physical education, however the state mandates K-12 students have at least 45 minutes of physical activity per week (“Physical Education”). Although Iowa only requires 45 minutes per week, many high schools such as Atlantic, Griswold, and Stanton require students to take 90-135 minutes per week. Not only does gym class not affect students’ health, but having physical education courses wastes money schools could be putting towards more scholastic purposes. In Iowa, the median salary of a physical education teacher is $60,690 a year (U.S. Department of Labor). Without physical education classes, schools would have no need to employ a physical education teacher, leaving the unused salary for more useful resources such as books, laptops, and programs. With this extra money in the school’s pocket, schools could raise budgets for more important programs such as STEM, English, or foreign language classes. In a poll conducted in 2004-2007, American adults said that insufficient funding and resources are a leading problem ┬áin public schools (Lips). By taking away physical educations classes in high school, schools would have a higher budget to put towards academics and eliminate the biggest problem in school systems. By not mandating physical education, students could spend more time on their academics. The United States now ranks in the bottom 35 industrialized countries for education (Barshay). With this, 23 countries scored above the U.S. in math and 16 other countries in science (Barshay). Among the top scoring countries, Singapore was number one, where students spend the school day working on schoolwork rather than physical education (Barshay). By using Singapore’s model of education where students are doing educational things the whole school day, the U.S. could work its way up to the top 10 in world education. With the average student spending up to 135 minutes per week on physical education, taking away physical education would leave the extra time for another class that students could use to better their education. Students in countries such as China and India, who are a few of the leaders in world in education, attend school 25 to 30 percent more often than students of the United States (Center for Public Education). By not taking physical education classes, students of the United states could have up to 117 more hours of schooling per year (Chen). Many people argue that exercise is good for you, so gym class should be mandatory. However, things such as eating vegetables and brushing your teeth are good for you too, yet schools don’t mandate students do do them. Just because things are good for you, does not mean the school should mandate it. Some people think that physical education class will help refocus on their academics after burning their energy. However, this break in academics could distract students from learning. Without engaging in vigorous, heart-racing activities for 45 minutes a day, physical education classes will make no difference in academic performance (Chen). Physical education is a class that high schools and their students could go without. The class has no significant health benefits, wastes money, and takes away precious time students could be using for academics. Without mandating physical education class to high school students, school systems would benefit in more money and better academics.

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