EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

April 1, 2013

Letter: Dodgeball isn’t part of modern physical education

To the editor:

I was recently surprised when I saw your article “Windham school officials drop dodgeball” featured on the popular website known as Deadspin. I am amazed at how this story continues to pop up in the news once or twice a year, as more and more schools come to the conclusion to outlaw this game. I also continue to be amazed at how the exact same debate carries such passion from both of those in favor of and against this decision. As someone who is in his sixth year of teaching secondary physical education, I felt compelled to add an angle that I have yet to hear considered by the public.

From the countless conversations that I have had with people, I have found that physical education is widely considered a step above recess; essentially recess with a grade. Most people I talk to are in favor of it as a subject. People tend to be concerned about growing obesity rates and have a vague feeling that P.E. will help curb these trends. Yet at the same time, I am hard pressed to find anyone who holds my subject with the same esteem as math, science, or any other subject, for that matter. Physical education is at the bottom of the food chain and this is a problem for my profession. Personally, I can see the writing on the wall. I, as a physical educator, am an endangered species.

The cost of educating a child is extremely expensive. In these tough economic times, the public wants justification for every penny that they spend on education, and rightfully so. They want reassurance that they’re not throwing their money away. It is for this reason that every year at budget time, I cross my fingers and hope that this isn’t the year that P.E. gets cut.

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