The Greeks and Romans got this right. Part of education is a healthy body, and if our public schools want to educate students completely (and holistically) they need to bring back a vigorous and education-filled physical education program. Our First Lady’s childhood obesity program is focusing on food and food choices and eating healthy food, and I believe in those things. But there needs to be a vigorous emphasis on exercise as a way of life.
My recommendation: Bring back PE classes for all students in public schools! What do you think?
Some of you may remember Mortimer Adler: as I recall his story, he refused to take an undergraduate course in swimming and that meant his courses were incomplete when he was admitted to a master’s degree, and before he finished the master’s degree he was admitted to the PhD program, and he finished the latter first … and he became the first American to get a PhD without having any other degree. I recall that he didn’t even get a high school diploma.
But one of his legacies was his displeasure of exercise and his criticism of it as a part of a high school curriculum. And this from a man who emphasized reading the classics. Still, Adler was wrong on this one and he hurt American health by repeating his ideas.
Our daughter, Laura, was influenced profoundly by a high school teacher who taught her students that exercise was nothing something done just in the context of a game or competition, but it was something done for health. Our daughter has been running consistently since high school. Public education matters, and PE needs to be a part of public education — for our country’s health.
The point of PE classes is no longer competition and just a game during school, but is instead on educating students in the value of health and the nature of a healthy regimen for life.
I make my appeal here to get PE back in all public schools. The sooner the better. (And while I”m at it, bring back shop classes too.)