Some Illinois politicians are tightening the belt on physical education exemptions offered to school districts statewide.
The state requires daily physical education for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. According to a 2006 report produced by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, Illinois and Massachusetts are the only states to require physical education every day and in every grade levels.
But, as in most fitness routines, there’s a loophole. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) said the state grants too many exemptions and waivers to districts and to individual students.
The high number of exemption requests has troubled state lawmakers who feel that too many school districts aren’t requiring enough physical activity.
All school districts require waivers from the General Assembly when making a change to their curriculum that strays from Illinois education codes.
The Chicago Public Schools proposal, which has been granted in the past, is necessary for city schools in order for students to meet academic graduation requirements. According to those requirements, juniors and seniors need to be free from physical education (PE) courses, mainly because of the demands of their class work.
According to the NASPE study, no federal law requires physical education courses.
“I just believe every student should receive physical education and health during their day of schooling,” said Lightford.