Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Sacred Subject In School

Maggie started speech last week. I guess the school finally decided they'd had enough of my begging and actually listened to Maggie speak English long enough to determine she can't say her "r's". Amusingly, her Spanish is flawless and since she's required to speak Spanish in the classroom, her little speech difficulty went undetected until I pointed it out to her teachers.

Anyhoo, in arranging for her twice weekly speech therapy, I had input into what subject she missed, and before I could state my preference the therapist added: She can miss anything but PE. The state requires she stay in that class. WTH?

Here's the reality: I could take her out of Math or Reading twice weekly for her speech class, but PE? Not happening. It doesn't matter that she plays soccer twice weekly and dances. It doesn't matter that she weighs 44 lbs soaking wet and slim cut clothes bag on her. It doesn't matter, basically, because there's money in PE and obesity no missing PE. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Even more in our district, PE now has specialist teachers, it's own cirriculum and even a dedicated classroom at our school. (Don't get me started on the PE health cirriculum which had Maggie coming home to ask me if she was fat because she liked ice cream!)

PE (aka Physical Education for my non-American followers) has come a long way since I was a kid. Used to be our elementary teacher hooked a whistle around her neck, grabbed a ball and marched us out to the play yard for a game of 4 square or soccer or even tetherball. It wasn't about obesity prevention in my childhood. It was more of a teacher sanity insurance plan. Basically, we had PE every time we got too obnoxious in class. It worked fine.

PE's importance has been so inflated that when they talk about cutbacks at our schools, they only teachers protected were PE teachers. Why? Because the other teachers get prep periods when the kids go to PE.

Here's the truth: PE is the easiest class to supplement. In our city kids can play any sport under the sun and most programs offer scholarships to disadvantaged families. In fact, I know many sports organizations recruit scholarship kids locally since their scholarships go unfilled.

This whole PE thing is so silly that I've actually considered fighting this battle at the district level, but I'm deciding against it. The Magster is very happy in her Speech class. We're pulling her out of social studies and she's paired up with the nicest boy in her class, who has a similar issue. So, if I won my little fight and Maggie started coming out of PE, she would lose her friend and that just defeats the purpose of the battle. But really, the schools need to think about this policy. Because frankly, it makes no sense.


  • At 6:27 AM , Blogger Carrie said...

    Kids in our area (and our whole state I believe) only have PE once a week for 45 min. IF they're lucky and we have one of the FATTEST states in the country. So I wish we had your push for PE problems. (For the record my kids have been homeschooled for the last 4yrs but will be attending private school next fall where they will only get PE once a week. SAD)

  • At 12:48 PM , Blogger One Lucky Mom said...

    But here's the thing: You can supplement Physical Education. And that's my only point. There are sports teams, skating rinks, good old fashion bike rides. Organized PE supported by specialists is a luxury item. Really the kids just need a ball and some time outside.

  • At 8:15 PM , Blogger Carrie said...

    I totally agree with you that there are TONS of other ways for kids to stay fit outside of school and it does sound like your daughter could easily skip it for her speech therapy. I do think it's odd that they'd rather her miss a textbook class then gym. I hope she does well in speech and gets an A in PE.

  • At 7:07 AM , Blogger Marci said...

    Abbie's favorite class is speech! She not only gets to talk for a half hour -- she's encouraged to do just that! She actually cried when she graduated from speech in CA and jumped for joy when they put her back in over here. I do know that at the middle school level, you can pull them from PE - the twins did it. I think it is outlawed again in HS.

  • At 7:53 AM , Blogger One Lucky Mom said...

    I heard a rumor they changed the rules in middle school and made PE mandatory. It has something to do with the standards.

    But that's a whole different issue for me. If La Nina is still dancing, she'll be dancing 12 hours a week. If I'm paying for dance 12 hours a week, I really don't want her playing flag football with a bunch of spastic 11 year old boys. (No offense to 11 year old boys, of course.) I'd be interested in removing her from PE to prevent injury and give her more time for homework. And really, kids who are competing and performing in a sport or art more than 8 hours a week do not need additional PE.

    I keep saying I'm not going to start worrying about middle school until 4th grade, but that's next year for us. YIKES.

  • At 9:04 AM , Blogger One Crazy Mom said...

    Dane can't say his "r''s either and his teacher just told me they will start pulling him out when he is 7 (which is in 4 months). Happy to get the speech issue corrected, but not happy about him missing class. With an active soccer playing, baseball playing, bike-riding, never sits still boy - PE would be my first choice for him to miss. Perhaps this will be my battle....(but the battles are so many it's hard to pick which ones!!!)


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