Give credit where it’s due

July 2, 2014

By Staff

Last week, the Lake Washington School Board discovered that students can get physical education credit for taking a class online, but not for playing sports. This policy has its root in a confusing aspect of state law, which needs to be cleaned up and to be changed to allow for credit for sports.
Under current law, a student can waive the requirement for taking a PE class if they are playing a sport, though they must still take a test to show they understand the concepts taught in the class. However, they can’t earn the credit for knowing those concepts.
The benefit to students is in freeing up a class period to take something that might look more interesting on their college application.
PE classes, for those who haven’t stepped foot in a school gym for a while, are no longer just about tormenting the fat kid during dodge ball. Now students are taught lessons on physiology, nutrition and healthy living – important lessons. It makes sense to ensure that teens have mastered these concepts.
There is an aspect of the class that focuses on getting students moving. This is also important, but it seems that playing on a sports team is going to cover this end.
So if students are moving on the soccer field or around the track, and they can show they understand the more academic concepts of the class, why not give them credit?
Particularly since students can get credit for the class online, which can’t possibly involve any supervised movement activities. It’s an illogical double-standard.
Lake Washington Superintendent Traci Pierce said there had been an issue in the past with a different school district that had allowed the practice and was dinged by the state auditor’s office because of the way the sports teams were funded.
If this is the case, it seems a surmountable problem. While the Legislature doesn’t seem to want to do anything but squabble about partisan politics, but this should not be a partisan issue.
The state should adjust the laws and find a way to allow PE credit for playing sports. There’s no reason not to.

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