An editorial appeared in the Boston Globe that makes a compelling argument that schools should ensure a steady diet of physical education classes to help combat the skyrocketing incidence of childhood obesity. Anticipating concerns that more time in gym class means less time in academics, the Globe writes:
Some parents worry that forcing kids to take gym would take too much class time away from academic subjects. But that’s an argument for extending the school day, not chipping away at important enrichment programs like physical education - or, for that matter, music and art. Some charter schools with longer hours have been able to protect those programs, one of the reasons that may account for their success….
Massachusetts schools should have physical education programs, and a school day long enough to accommodate them.
Indeed, this neat summary of the argument we’ve been making for years nicely captures why expanding time is so key in the education community. Nearly every improvement that policymakers and education leaders hope to bring to schools - from gym classes to professional development to higher standards - ultimately rests upon the need to spend more time engaging in that particular activity or class. Time is not, therefore, a niche issue that can be separated from others, but rather an all-encompassing matter that affects almost everything that takes place during the school day. Add time and the whole schooling experience can change.