By Ilana Urman
In June 2012, the Department of Education implemented a new physical education policy. Students are now required to take a physical education class three days a week in one semester and two days a week in the other for a total of eight semesters, or a instruction five days a week for seven semesters.
However, an alternative to this policy exists. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors may also receive physical education credit for participating in an extracurricular athletic program, such as a PSAL team.
As long as students demonstrate acceptable levels of physical fitness, skills, and physical education learning standards in this activity, they would be eligible for gym credits.
This policy has not been implemented at Tech, however other schools that participate in the PSAL have made physical education credit available to athletes.
Adrian Pascual ’13 says, “I think students should be able to receive gym credit from PSAL for a number of reasons: other schools have already enacted this policy, students will be able to take advantage of their free periods, and students will get kicked off the team if they’re not active anyways.”
Physical Education teacher Maryann Marrano disagrees, “In my opinion, students absolutely need physical education. Teams, with very few exceptions, are not year-long. How would students be getting physical education credits if their teams are only in the spring, fall, or winter season? That would mean students are only doing something for that time period but getting credit for the entire year.”
Some students feel that not having to take a gym class would benefit their schedule.
San Koko Htet ’13 says, “Students are already getting kicked off teams for not completing schoolwork because of their time commitment to the team. They always come home late from practices and games. A free period can be used to their advantage when it comes to completing schoolwork.”
Jenny Lin ’14 agrees, “People on sports teams deserve the free period they can gain to catch up on schoolwork or attend tutoring they don’t otherwise have the time for.”
Gym credits from PSAL teams could be incentive for students to be more active.
Edena Samoylovich ’15 says, “I think it’s a great idea because a student can free up their schedule and it can provide motivation for others to join a team.”
Although students see many advantages of implementing such a policy, there are various detrimental factors which need to be considered.
Not only would the Physical Education Department face potential cutbacks, students would be losing much more than just a 45-minute period physical activity.
Maureen Malone says, “Participating in a PSAL sport is a completely separate and voluntary after-school thing. Physical education teaches topics such as weight training and nutrition, something students don’t get from after-school sports. The focus is trying to develop a well-rounded athlete. New York is one of the few states left which requires passing physical education for a diploma, and yet they’re always trying to cut out physical education.”