Prepared Text for Board Meeting – May 19,  2008 (SB311)

Marc A. Schare  614 791-0646 Home

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First, I want to thank the administrators for their hard work on this issue. These comments in no way reflect on their effort or their professionalism. This is truly an issue where there are two sides and it is easy to see either  side.


SB311 allows boards of education to grant an exemption to athletes who have completed two semesters of sports.


In refusing to grant the exemption, we have to believe that all of the following are true.


1.      The importance of Physical Education rises to a level that we put Math, English, History, Science and other required classes.


2.      The “Education” involved in Physical Education is not obtained in two seasons of participation in athletics, marching band or cheerleading


3.      Two semesters of Physical Education are more important than every other possible elective that the student could take given the time constraints of a high school schedule.


In making their case, the administration highlights the importance of a lifetime of wellness and physical fitness. While I might quibble over whether a lifetime of wellness and physical fitness would follow from a semester of Yoga or other offerings from our physical education curriculum, I concede the point. What I question is why a lifetime of wellness would be more important than a lifetime of music, a lifetime of art, a lifetime of financial literacy, a lifetime of law and yes, even a lifetime of computer science, especially for those students who have already demonstrated a predisposition to physical fitness via their participation in two seasons of sports, marching band or cheerleading.


There are other possible benefits to granting the exemption. There could be a financial benefit in making funds available to our high school reform initiatives, a STEM school or other programmatic enhancements. Athletes who would otherwise be forced to take physical education in the summer might be able to get jobs or participate in a family vacation, both of which are difficult for high school athletes during the school year.


We have embarked on a new era in Worthington. We are trying to offer students the maximum amount of choice within the confines of a public school district. Granting the exemption is consistent with the desire for choice.


There have been other arguments against the exemption. What happens if a student gets cut or injured. The ORC is very clear.

Two full seasons of participation would have to have been completed before the exemption could be granted. This implies that if a student was cut, injured or otherwise failed to complete two full seasons, the exemption would not apply.

I would like to hear from the community on this issue before we act on this recommendation. Does physical education rise to the level of importance that it should be required even for athletes who have completed two seasons or should we grant an exemption and allow (but never require) athletes to use their high school time to subjects that are of more importance to the individual student.

3313.603(L) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, the board of education of each school district and the governing authority of each chartered nonpublic school may adopt a policy to excuse from the high school physical education requirement each student who, during high school, has participated in interscholastic athletics, marching band, or cheerleading for at least two full seasons. If the board or authority adopts such a policy, the board or authority shall not require the student to complete any physical education course as a condition to graduate. However, the student shall be required to complete one-half unit, consisting of at least sixty hours of instruction, in another course of study.