Organizations push for changes to gym class in Illinois - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Organizations push for changes to gym class in Illinois

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - A push for new Illinois legislation may put new rules in place for P.E. class.  The state currently requires kindergarten through twelfth grade students to offer P.E. daily, but schools can get exemptions for over-crowding and other issues.

Organizations like the American Heart Association want Illinois lawmakers to pass two bills making changes to the P.E. program. They would create standardized testing in P.E. classes and get rid of loopholes for exempted schools.

Payson Jr.- Sr. High School Principal Brian Maloy says they only allow juniors and seniors to waive P.E. for educational classes that would not otherwise fit in their schedule. He says these changes would require more creative planning.

"When we try to build what the student has to have and then we look at what they need to have, sometimes it's a challenge," Maloy said. "It's not that P.E. is not important. It is very important, but we are also looking at a junior and senior year to fit those things in."

Maloy says if the measures are passed they would evaluate the classes and find a way to get all the students in P.E. and still allow for students to take the extra classes.

Quincy's Baldwin Elementary has exemptions to the rule due to the number of students and the amount of space they have. P.E. Teacher Jennifer Oitker says the changes are great on paper.

"It would be wonderful to have some type of physical activity every day," Oitker said. "Numbers wise it's a little tougher when you have bigger buildings. We have 1,500 students. We have three P.E. teachers. To see kids on a daily basis, we would go about 250 kids maybe every 40 to 45 minutes. There is no way we could get those numbers in."

Oitker says that they try to teach the students to be active when they aren't in P.E. by playing a game with friends or as simple as walking their pet to the park.
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