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Orlando Schools Prepare To Shape Up

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Summary: When students in Orlando Schools return to school this fall they should prepare to shape up. Physically speaking anyway. Florida Governor Charlie Crist just signed into law a new requirement for daily physical education (PE) classes for all kindergarten through 5th grade students. Historically Orlando Schools, and all its Florida counterparts, have allowed local governing agencies to set PE requirements. But new governor Crist thinks it is time for a change. Prompting his...

When students in Orlando Schools return to school this fall they should prepare to shape up. Physically speaking anyway. Florida Governor Charlie Crist just signed into law a new requirement for daily physical education (PE) classes for all kindergarten through 5th grade students. Historically Orlando Schools, and all its Florida counterparts, have allowed local governing agencies to set PE requirements. But new governor Crist thinks it is time for a change. Prompting his action are numerous reports pointing to the increase in obesity and obesity related diseases in children nationwide. A 2003 task force found that millions of American children are at risk for juvenile diabetes, which is often caused by obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Add to that these shocking statistics: the percentage of overweight children has tripled since 1980, while the number of schools requiring daily PE classes has dropped from 42% to 28%. Orlando Schools, which are part of the Orange County District, will need to make some significant changes to meet the new requirements. While Orlando Schools have shown some improvements on statewide test scores, much of that success is attributed to the additional time devoted to intensive math and reading instruction. A recent inquiry of 100 Orange County Schools found that 4 had replaced PE time with academic instruction in math and reading. This has some teachers in Orlando Schools scratching their heads as to where this "extra" PE time is going to come from. The new mandate will require Orlando Schools to provide 2
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