Rankings in the International Olympics indicate how great and powerful a nation is. The outcome shows that the USA is losing its premier position. Legislators in Washington acted in a bipartisan way to pass the No Child Left Unfit Law. This requires all students to take physical education every single school day from 6th through twelfth grade. They are further required to pass standardized skills tests at each grade level, including swimming, tennis, soccer, skiing, ice skating, hockey, badminton and gymnastics, which were chosen as the most important Olympic sports. Every student must develop a minimum level of proficiency in each of these sports in order to graduate from high school.
A few objections were raised. What about the students who don’t have access to swimming pools, ice rinks or ski slopes? The government will just have to pay big business to build these in our impoverished cities and towns and in the south. What about students with disabilities? Depending on the disability, the school will need to document it and provide a list of related skills that the student is capable of mastering.
All objections were dismissed when Michelle Obama said this legislation would definitely help to ward off obesity and make kids get in shape.
No one asked about the gym class klutz. We’ve all known these kids; they trip over their own two feet, they have no visible or medical disability, but seem to have been born clumsy. No amount of practice seems to help them hit a tennis ball or keep their balance in any sport. Should these kids be denied a high school diploma or will they drop out, knowing they haven’t a prayer of meeting this requirement?
This legislation is hypothetical, but think about the legislation that does exist: students are required to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics, beginning at early grade levels because the USA is not a top-performing country in math and science tests. We claim that standardized tests will move our country toward more highly skilled math and science professionals. This, in turn, will gain world dominance in new technologies for the USA. How many years must we perpetrate this fallacy before we realize that education is not a factory where all products must come out the same?