The state of California requires that all high school students complete two years of Physical Education, exercising 400 minutes every 10 school days. However, due to a waiver that CHS has students sign, students do not have to complete the second year of P.E.
The board committee was the deciding factor on requiring P.E. only freshman year instead of sophomore year as well.
The transcript on Aeries notes that students need 20 credits; however, one year of P.E. only gives students 10 credits. The waiver lets them get out of the second year.
But CHS P.E. teacher Debbie French thinks that Physical Education should be required for at least two years of high school.
In reality, the most exercise some kids get is during P.E. Not many kids go to a gym every day, or even once a week.
Having P.E. for at least two years during high school can be good for students. French thinks that it would be OK for students that play sports to sign a waiver to get out of it, but for students not playing sports, P.E. should be required.
“The state of California says that you can waive out of P.E. if you are playing an interscholastic sport, but the code also says that you have to get 400 minutes of P.E. every 10 school days,” she notes.
Even though CHS students sign the waiver saying they will get the mandatory 400 minutes, few actually do. Senior Selene Elias says that she never has the time to get those minutes in because she is always busy with school and volunteering at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.
“I think it should be the students’ decision if they want to work out or not,” junior Rostin Ahmadi says. “It shouldn’t be a state standard.”
Junior David Martin says that he can exercise if he wants to, but he just doesn’t see it as a priority.
The P.E. waiver says the following: “The governing board of a school district or the office of the County Superintendent of Schools of a county, with the consent of a pupil, may grant a pupil an exemption from the courses in physical education for two years and time during grades 10 to 12, inclusive, if the pupil has met satisfactorily five of the six standards of the physical performance test administered in grade nine….In addition, CUSD requires that one of the five standards passed must be in the mile run.”
To get the second year of P.E. waived, there is a paper that students have to sign stating that they do not wish to continue taking P.E. classes. Students can sign it once they turn 16.
Jeff Schatz, counselor for the junior class, says he has students sign the waiver at the end of junior year because by then almost all juniors are at least 16. He says he will most likely have juniors sign the waivers when he does the one-on-one conferences to discuss classes for senior year.
“In theory, you just have to get two years [of P.E.] done in four,” he adds.
Schatz feels that taking P.E. only freshman year is not necessarily a bad thing, but he also would not mind if students were required to take P.E. for two years.
A few years ago, if a student played a sport at CHS, that would count as P.E. credit for them. However, that had to be taken away for two reasons; one involved so many kids playing sports that the P.E. classes were small.
The other reason was due to the fact that coaches would have to have their teaching credentials in order for the sport to be counted for P.E. credit. Hardly any of the coaches had their credentials, so their sports were no longer allowed to be counted.
Many CHS students like the fact they only have to take P.E. freshman year. They like that it gives them one more elective every year to take an extra class.
Senior Briseyda Linares says, “You have more room in your schedules to take classes that you want.”
– Kim Burns