Remember the obesity crisis? Guess not.

In the mad obsession to raise test scores and to outcompete the world, physical education classes are being turned into opportunities to teach reading, math, geography, and almost anything that might be on the test.

The story reads:

On a recent afternoon, the third graders in Sharon Patelsky’s class reviewed words like “acronym,” “clockwise” and “descending,” as well as math concepts like greater than, less than and place values.

“Ms. Patelsky, the physical education teacher at Everglades Elementary School here, instructed the students to count by fours as they touched their elbows to their knees during a warm-up. They added up dots on pairs of dice before sprinting to round mats imprinted with mathematical symbols. And while in push-up position, they balanced on one arm and used the other (“Alternate!” Ms. Patelsky urged. “That’s one of your vocabulary words”) to stack oversize Lego blocks in columns labeled “ones,” “tens” and “hundreds.”………

“Spurred by an intensifying focus on student test scores in math and English as well as a desire to incorporate more health and fitness information, more school districts are pushing physical education teachers to move beyond soccer, kickball and tennis to include reading, writing and arithmetic as well. New standards for English and math that have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia recommend that teachers in a wide variety of subjects incorporate literacy instruction and bring more “informational text” into the curriculum. Many states have interpreted these standards to include physical education and have developed recommendations and curriculum for districts and teachers to incorporate literacy skills and informational text into gym classes.”


This is going too far. Why should students be denied the physical activity they need in the service of test prep?

Somehow I suspect no one is doing nonsense like this at Sidwell Friends or Lakeside Academy in Seattle or Deerfield Academy or Maumee Country Day School in Toledo.