Soph PhysEd Wastes Academic Opportunity

Aly Fosbury, Staff Writer

Dropping the physical education requirement for sophomores would benefit those looking to bolster their schedule with an additional academic course.

According to, California requires students complete a minimum of 2 years of PE to graduate. This includes at least 400 minutes of PE for every 10 days of school.

Only a nurse, doctor, or guardian can temporarily exempt a student from PE if he or she has an injury, such as a broken bone or an illness. However, students are required to fulfill the 2 year requirement sometime during their high school career.

I believe that requiring 2 years of PE places an unnecessary burden on sophomores who are in 1 of the 2 most important years in their high school careers. PE is simply a time for kids to try various sports, and, despite their reluctance, run laps on the track.

However, PE teachers Alison Adams and Christi Costa don’t see it my way.

“I believe that teenagers need to be physically active and, whether they are in an after school sport or not, they need to move,” Adams said. “They sit a lot during the day and they sit at night doing their homework, so some nice fresh air and movement during the day is healthy.” Adams also noted that childhood obesity and diabetes are a growing issue. “Sitting in front of the computer and all those things are reducing our movement with the youth. That is why we have problems with health,” Adams explained.

Costa agrees that exercise for teenagers who are constantly sitting around in class or doing homework is imperative. “It was 4 years of PE before and now it’s only 2 years. Let’s not go any lower,” Costa said. “Some kids that don’t get any exercise during the day or don’t have a sport, this is the only exercise they are getting.”

But I believe students should have a choice. Physical activity is only one part of a healthy life. Other components such as diet and sleep also contribute to a student’s overall health. According to, scientific research has concluded time and time again that eating healthy foods can reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and other diseases. Nearly 100 million Americans are obese or overweight, but with a healthy diet, there is a definite possibility of losing the weight and lessening the chances diseases and illnesses. Exercise may also be a helpful component, but ultimately the child and parents should be able to make their own lifestyle choices.

While after school athletics are competitive and rigorous, PE does not add much physical activity to a student’s daily schedule, besides the one run each week in class. On the other hand, school sport teams practice 2-3 hours, 4-6 days a week.

If PE was limited to only freshmen, Adams says physical education teachers would lose their jobs.

The average teacher at Campolindo makes $77,401 a year. If two teachers were let go, the money could be used to fund other academic or athletic activities. For example, more school field trips to a wider range of classes could be added to the schedule each year. Costs for buses or uniforms that the athletic department purchases could be covered. Updated class books such as history or English books could also be purchased with the money.

If sophomores did not have to take PE they would have an extra period for an elective. Sophomore year is crucial for students planning on going to college, and instead of branching out academically, they are required to spend 50 minutes of their day running around and playing. I believe this time could be spent doing something  more productive.

“Not having PE as a sophomore can open up new opportunities for me,” freshman Simone Epperson said.

If sophomores were allowed to add an extra AP or honors class to their schedule, it would be helpful to those applying to college.

Whether or not a student participates in after school sports, eliminating PE for sophomores would allow for a more flexible schedule, which could potentially help when applying to college.