Right when school started this year a concerned parent posted the following petition:
Since that time, almost 400 parents throughout the district have signed this petition requesting that District 87 continue to allow this waiver from P.E. classes. The administration does not mention that without this waiver music and other elective programs such as foreign language, art, business, and industrial arts programs throughout the district will probably suffer a loss of enrollment since students cannot participate in these areas and fulfill the new graduation requirements of District 87.
For example, without this waiver it will no longer be possible to take four years of Band, Orchestra, or Choir and four years of foreign language without summer school or P.E. at 6:45 am. Summer school and P.E. at 6:45 am are solutions presented by the administration. I believe that both of these options are problematic for students, and requiring summer school to complete requirements in order to stay enrolled in music and other electives, in particular, cuts into opportunities for summer employment, required athletic and music camps, and also is discriminatory toward those families who do make too much money to qualify for summer school tuition waivers, but for whom an additional $200-300 in summer school fees would prove a definite hardship.
With a waiver, athletes who receive a study hall during their season are able to spend that period on their studies. This is especially important when these athletes are spending often three hours after school at practice alone. Add in travel time to away activities and this period becomes even more important.
I have done a seat of the pants analysis of which comparable high schools offer this waiver opportunity, and have found that virtually ALL DuPage County public schools allow this waiver for their students. Highly ranked schools outside DuPage allowing the waiver include New Trier, Highland Park, the Deerfield Schools, and the Glenbrook Schools, as well as the most highly ranked schools in the state: the prep schools of the Chicago Public School district (Northside Prep, Walter Payton, et. al.) allow a P.E. waiver for the reasons listed in the petition.
Finally, the four year P.E. requirement for high school students in the State of Illinois has existed since sometime after World War II. Only Illinois (of all 50 states) requires four years of P.E. in high school. Yet, even with this requirement in place, obesity rates have skyrocketed across ALL levels of the population over the last 15 years, or so. While I am, of course, in favor of physical education for all students, clearly not re-applying for this waiver at the state level is throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Tonight, I will urge the Board to vote in favor of renewing the waiver for Junior and Senior students in District 87. We need this waiver to meet the needs of our students and to stay competitive with the best-ranked high schools in the area, and the state.