Parents of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Brooklyn’s PS 224 are angry that their children have gone without gym class since the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, the New York Daily News reports.
Last year, schedules included a once-a-week dance class that satisfied the state requirement for 120 minutes of physical education a week. School Principal, George Andrews, however, did away with the program at the end of the year and never made a move to replace the dance course with other physical education.
According to the Daily News, students in grades 1-5 have one period of gym class per week, while 150 pre-k and kindergarten students have none whatsoever.
Some parents, like Bryant Ramirez, say they would rather their children be active in gym class at school than play outside in the surrounding neighborhood, which they say is too dangerous.
“There are a lot of older kids that are out here hanging out and I don’t want them influencing my son,” Ramirez told the Daily News.
While City Department of Education officials say students engage in "structured recess," a school source told the paper students run around for 10 minutes, at best, once or twice weekly.
PS 224 is one of 23 middle and elementary schools that received an “F” on the city’s annual progress report.
A study conducted by University of Georgia kinesiology professor Bryan McCullick earlier this year found that only six states nationwide require the recommended 150 minutes of elementary school-based physical education.
Many schools are reducing or eliminating their physical education programs due to budget cuts, combined with a greater emphasis on academic performance. According to McCullick, a lack of firm requirements reduces the likelihood that schools will adhere to the guidelines.
In another study published in the Journal Of Physical Activity & Health this summer, researchers found that African American children in elementary and middle schools who participated in 45 minutes of daily physical education were shown to have significantly greater improvements on cognitive tests than children who did not participate.