Rather irked at the state's requirements.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AnnieO, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    So what the heck happens if a kid is PHYSICALLY UNABLE to complete a task? Pat's push-ups are awful, but he tries. If these standards had been in effect when I was in high school, I'd have failed PE. On pushups, situps, and flexibility the poor kid is getting from 10% to 50%. Flexibility? OK, Rose would get 150% easy but this is a 15-y/o boy!

    Any teachers that can explain how the state can tell me how fit my kid has to be to excel? Jeez, I can't run a mile and have never been able to, so his getting a 25% on running a mile is no worry to me. What's next, I have to make him run around the block as homework?!

    Yes, he needs more physical activity, but I thought grades like this were based on effort, not ability. I'd hate to see what kind of grade they give someone who is physically disabled.
  2. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Someone who is physically disabled can have adaptive PE put on to an IEP. Gym was my least favorite class in school and I think it's a joke. I've hard a very hard time instilling gym into my kids as well. difficult child did the quarter mile in 20 minutes. It turned out he has flat feet so since we switched him to New Balance sneakers, he's been better but gym was not his favorite thing, either.

    For your son, I would talk to the teacher and read the curriculum. It could be like in scouting. There, when you start the physical fitness merit badge, you do a baseline and then you are just judged on how you improve and not against other kids or a national standard. Of course, my easy child figured out that if you do miserably on your baseline test, you can appear to be amazing with just a small effort.

    And don't get me started on gym clothing. None of my boys would change in the locker room and baby boy is the only one who will wear gym class appropriate shorts. Fortunately, gym isn't counted in the GPA so as long as they pass with a D, I don't care.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    How did your son explain 0,25 miles in twenty minutes with anything else than total lack of effort? Average walking speed for non-disabled or elderly people tends to be over 3 miles per hour. 20 minutes in 0,25 miles is 0,75 miles per hour. I have seen my kid both crawl, bear crawl and 'walk' with his butt less than four inches from ground that distance much faster. Yes, he is pro athlete but those were long before those days. (And yeah, he tended to be naughty, those were typical punishments for being naughty in his coaches' time.)

    I find it funny, that PE is a class many think kids should get a free pass. Few have a problem with music or art classes basing grades for ability. Even fewer with math class doing so. And yes, PE class can have homework like any other class. With our kids it has often been more the health science part of the class, but they have also have homework to cross country ski or walk or do some other form of exercise and document it. I see it no different than any other homework.

    Kids are not created equal in how they do at sports, but neither are they in anything else. And usually what is required to pass a class is not that much. And if the kid has issues that make hitting those goals difficult, they of course should have accommodations and if needed, individualised goals.

    And that flexibility; together with some basic aerobic fitness and little bit of muscle, it is the most important part for fitness that helps to keep you healthy. and you can easily improve it with little exercising. In fact to improve all three, you will likely need much less 'homework time' than any other class. And while knowing your historical facts is important, it is not usually matter of life and death, health and sickness and huge part of quality of life as some basic fitness is. With basic fitness I'm not talking about doing well in some sport, or having abs that show or anything silly like that. I'm talking about being able to walk 5 miles without any difficulty, having enough muscle to do everyday things and having muscle tone and being flexible enough to not have back or joint problems caused by your bad shape when you are only 25.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    PE was the bane of my existence back in school. For me the worst part was some olympic gymnast had just got a perfect score I think so my jr high decided they needed to turn out the next wonder girl. I am so not a gymnast. I am afraid of heights and the balance breed terrified me. I couldnt do anything on the bars either and I dont think I ever actually did a cartwheel. I could do a back bend though. I wanted to do gym with the boys because I could throw the medicine ball really well but that wasnt allowed. I have also never been able to run laps but I could bike forever.

    Now, I couldnt crawl a quarter mile if my life depended on it. I have a hard enough time walking up and down the steps and I can only stand up for about 10 to 15 minutes when cooking or washing dishes.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    SuZir... obviously, you are FIT. And coordinated. In other words... physically able for the full gamut of PE.

    ME, on the other hand? I'm like Pat.
    I CANNOT run a mile. Not because of the aerobic capacity... put me on a stationary bike, and I can put out with the best of them. I CANNOT run. I trip over my own feet. Have for ALL of my life. It's not an option.

    I could "probably" build enough muscle to do pushups, but... really? how does that relate to life?

    Sorry. I'd love to know what "national standards" they are referring to, because... it is actually DANGEROUS to take any unfit person - disability or not - and force them to attempt to reach some artificial standard in an artificial timeframe...

    Annie... I'm probably even more steamed over this than you are!!!!
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    IC: Yes, I'm fit and reasonably athletic. I'm also reasonably talented in academics, have no learning disabilities and have received a high level education through my whole school career. So not only can I ran faster and farther away than average, I can also solve math problems better than average.

    Had I have learning issues, I would have felt cheated, if school would had just told me, that 'oh, you are just not good at maths, how about you draw flowers, when other do their math problems. It's not like you would need math for anything.'

    Same with PE. Yes, there certainly are all kinds of learning disabilities and physical disabilities to interfere also in this area. But that is not reason to give up, but instead provide needed accommodations and alternative testing methods (yes, for example aerobic fitness can be tested with exercise bike instead of running. Same as kid with trouble writing can have his exams done orally etc.) and IEPs.

    I'm not fan of PE, that humiliates kids. Neither I think it is fair to demand something that has not been taught and exercised before exam. And I firmly believe, that necessary accommodations etc. should be in place. But I don't think that PE, art or music are any less important in school than other subjects. And giving free passes for kids in them is simply giving up and cheating those kids.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    But here... unless you are really athletic, PE is automatically a place to get humiliated. I lived it. My kids have lived it, too. Everything is about competition and put-downs. And the humiliation spills over from the PE class through the whole school.

    I have never - ever - seen a PE curriculum done in such a way as to accommodate those who "appear" normal but really can't keep up. And nobody... NOBODY... understands the incredible effort involved for some of us. Is it fair, really, to ask for 10 basketball passes... from the kid who has to put 10x the effort into every single pass, and by the 5th one can't even get the brain to tell the hands what to do? The philosophy is, if you can throw 1, you can throw 10... all you need is practice. So, the poor kid spends ALL his mental energy on a stupid PE class... and then can't focus the rest of the day on math and English and science. And THAT is fair?

    I have NEVER seen an IEP accommodate fatigue, neuromotor difficulties, pain, or any other invisible disability where the person is "partly able".
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Well, that is a key. PE, or math or English, should not be humiliating. If it is, teaching methods are not working. Around here we have had lots of progress in PE in this. Partly because parental push, partly because emphasis from Universities that educate future PE teachers. They do lots of pedagogic classes both during their BA but especially during their Masters studies when they specialise to PE teaching instead of other sport science. PE that encourages kids to adapt active lifestyle has been one of big educational topics for long time.

    They do teach also basic athletic skills of course especially with younger kids (every kids learns how to kick and throw a ball, skate, ski, play few team sports, do basic gymnastics etc.) but lot of it is about finding your own sport. Especially when kids get older. My kids are/were excused from gym part of their PE because they do/did sport program, but syllabus for kids not in sport program (in their High School there is also 'normal' program, environmental program and art program) sounds down right fun. And emphasis is learning to be active in their own terms. They do some basic sports (but vote which ones to do, often have two options or basically always an option to go swimming or lift weights instead of doing what others are doing), but they also try everything from horseback riding to canoeing to archery to almost anything they can come up with. But yes, they do have homework and have to keep exercise diary etc. too.

    Any subject can be taught so, that it is downright mortifying to kids with difficulties, but also in more gentle way. Those English classes can be awful for kid with dyslexia for example. And often it is up to parents to advocate schools to adapt human teaching methods and forsake unnecessary competitiveness from school classes - from all of them, not just PE. Of course parents of difficult children often have so much to fight, that we don't have strength to have also this battle. But fortunately it is common for all parents. Very few kids flourish in environment there everything is about competing and putting kids to in order according to their skills and comparing your skills to other people's skills or there classes may turn to humiliation. No one learns well, if they have to fear about humiliation.

    Okay, out of my soapbox now...
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The only way that PE could ever remove the humiliation factor would be to eliminate SPORTS. 100% of them, 100% of the time.

    Basic fitness has to be modified to allow for needs of the kid - e.g. stationary bike vs. running vs. swimming... all are aerobic exercise. Other forms of exercise are important too. But... KILL SPORTS.

    ALL sports have a significant real-time action coordination component. Team sports have an even higher level of this. And this "real-time" component is part of what makes PE so impossible for challenged kids... and so humiliating in a class environment.

    Example: basketball. Not hard to learn to dribble, or learn to pass, or any other specific skill. But put it all together even in a one-on-one environment and... the kid with challenges is a disaster, and seriously bullied as a result. Its the same for... baseball, hockey, soccer, football, volleyball, tennis, skiing (any form), track and field, and so on.

    In my opinion, sports do NOT belong in PE class.... not EVER. You want to learn a sport, you go join a team and learn. Don't even have an issue with schools having "school teams" for those star athletic types.

    But... KILL SPORTS IN PE CLASS. Please.

    You thought YOU were on a soap-box... I think mine is bigger... :)
    Sorry for the rant.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Annie... sorry, your thread got kind of hijacked...
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Problem is - most kids enjoy sports and that is how they find that active lifestyle. Yes, there are kids, who have not much chance to be good at sports - but there are also tons of kids who have no chance at being good at reading, math, foreign languages, science, music or art. You can't just eliminate teaching them, because some kids have difficulties.

    And coordination is also a skill. Some will never be too good, like some will never be too good readers or in math, but even they do get better with exercise. And for those with considerable learning issues, there should be accommodations and IEPs. But that should not mean, that rest of the class is not getting challenges and education appropriate to them.

    Kids who have trouble reading or doing basic math are bullied and teased too for that, unfortunately. And foreign language classes can be pure torture (my most humiliating school memories are from English class and trying to learn to pronounce th-sound, it doesn't exist in either of my native languages and gave me great deal of trouble and is still to this day far from accurate, when coming out of my mouth, and gave lots to laugh for my class mates. It took quite a long time before I felt confident when speaking English and not trying to avoid words with that sound.) We can't totally eliminate a fact, that some kids are better in math or PE than others, neither is it fair to stop teaching them, especially when it is common, that different kids excel in different things, but teaching methods should avoid unnecessary competition (why on earth there should be for example an honor roll or some silly valedictorian and class rank system??? Only to humiliate those, who do not do so well in academics) and humiliating teaching methods. When kids have to compete and loose repeatedly, only thing that happens, is that they give up and decide that whole thing is stupid (and feel bad of themselves.) That is how you get 0,25 miles in 20 minutes runners and kids not even bothering to try to do their math homework or answering in the test or declining to even take book out from their backpack in English class.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LOL hijack away, IC.

    SuZir, to answer the question - running a mile was graded some arbitrary way, it wasn't 1/4 mile in 20 minutes. Pat can leisurely walk the 5 miles home in just under 2 hours. But running a mile - running? HAH. He's fast - for very short bursts. This is week 3 of classes (and that was in week 2) - how can you give someone an "F" for their baseline? I can see a "C", which is average, with a note - "Baseline = XYZ, Pat has problems completing the mile at a run" or somesuch.

    NOW - later, when they test again, I can see an "F". Why? Maybe he isn't trying, or hasn't improved. But you cannot punish a kid with a failing grade for something he is not good at.

    The interesting part is that he is getting 100% in other activities - hockey, soccer, participation, dress - so clearly it's not a lack of attempt on his part.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes but... You can have trouble with math, and hate math class, and whatever else. But no matter how much effort you put into math class, it doesn't deplete the effort available for English, or PE for that matter.

    But... putting effort into PE, for a kid with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or any number of other neuro-motor issues, means that then when the kid gets to math or English which they are insanely good at, they fail there TOO because PE has taken up all the available resources.

    And NO amount of practice or effort will EVER eliminate that extreme mental energy drain of coordinated physical activity

    Is it fair to have a kid fail at school in general just because of "justifiable" reason for forcing all kids to take PE?

    And yes it happens. Some of the kids who drop out in various fashions (including suicide) are kids whose "good parts" have been destroyed by insane school rules including... PE class.

    Sorry. PE is a health issue, not an academic issue. We need to totally separate the two. It is the responsibility of PARENTS to look after the health of their kids. It is the responsibility of schools to educate them.

    A hundred years ago, PE wasn't a subject. It didn't exist in schools... at least, not "out here". PE was... chores, and walking 3 miles to school... and chasing your cousins around the barn. If I could have had a time machine and taken my kid back by a 100 years, I would have.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    We have an obesity epidemic among our children. And I will tell you why - many of my generation spoil their children badly with technology so they are sedentary - Our parents, the Baby Boomers, were the first to mostly completely work outside the home, so the guilt meant we were spoiled with THINGS, and now we can't be bothered with our kids because we aren't sure why they shouldn't get THINGS like we did. Only the THINGS they get aren't bicycles and swing sets, they're XBoxes and Playstations, facebook, cell phones and iPods and laptops... And those parents who try to get their kids outside are terrified of something happening to them. I used to walk or bike to the park and my friends' houses, miles away - but Pat doesn't walk home often because something "might" happen.

    I'm semi guilty of this, too. I try to get him outside but I spoil him with the XBox. I try to use it as a reward... But I fail, too.

    You should have seen the look on my friends' faces in real life when I told them I was taking a baby camping.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Annie, I agree.
    But... PE in school isn't going to solve the obesity epidemic.
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    No, it's not. And having physical standards that kids have to meet is insane.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    HOURS of physical activity... might make sense. If a kid is active in three sports outside of class, those hours count. If a kid is in scouts and doing wood-splitting at camp, that counts. But so does walking the dog around the block three times, or scrubbing the kitchen floor, mowing the lawn (except riding mower), etc. ACTIVITY can be almost anything that gets your heart rate up in a healthy way (getting mad doesn't count).

    If the standard is 10 hours of physical activity per week... it's a challenge for most families to figure out how to get there but it might make the parents healthier too. Five hours in school, and five hours at home... not bad. Then, give the kids the option to do alternative ACTIVITIES for PE... like, shovel the sidewalk for the janitor, or move a couple of pallets of printer paper into storage. Get creative!
  18. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    My daughter failed PE last year because she couldn't run the full mile. Now she has to make up a semester her junior year and I am hoping and praying she can pass. She simply gets out of breath very quickly and she can't run very fast. She also failed the state physical fitness testing which she needs to pass in order to graduate. I would hate to see her not graduate all because of a stupid state test that she may not be able to pass due to uncoordination. If it comes down to that, I will be raising hell.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    CB... the irony here is this: You cannot graduate without PE. And, you can't take "adult upgrading" to get your graduating requirements, unless you are both over 18 AND have been out of school for a full year. But... if you quit school at 17, and wait a year, you can take your missing credits by adult upgrading, and PE is no longer a requirement.

    Might that be one of the reasons kids are dropping out in the upper grades, and completing school about 2 years later?
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm really surprised that your school system won't allow an alternative equivalent. How far would she have to swim? Surely, being a "fit" swimmer is just as much "fit" as a "fit" runner... ???