This week’s Bad Bill of the Week is HB 901. Proposed by Reps. Verla Insko (D-Orange) and Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Edgecombe), the bill proposes “to develop or identify academically rigorous honors-level courses in health and physical education.” In essence, the legislation creates honors gym classes for high school students.
The bill comes at a time when many schools are waiving their physical education requirements and an honors P.E. course would only benefit a few students. If part of the bill’s intent is to improve the physical health of our students, the only students that would likely sign up for Honors P.E. would be ones already inclined toward regular physical activity.
When honors or advanced placement classes are taken, a student’s grade point average, or GPA, is figured differently: a grade received in an honors class is worth the points of a letter grade higher. Rather than challenging themselves with an extra math class or pursuing an interest in art (or a dozen other courses offered to high school students as electives), students already inclined to fitness will take the new honors P.E. just to boost their GPA.
Students in the United States have fallen behind the rest of the world in mathematics and sciences, and budget cuts are causing music programs – which are proven to boost students’ performance and intellect – to suffer. Wouldn’t scarce resources such as time and money be better spent on proven programs that will improve our students in critical areas?
Honors level courses in health and physical education for North Carolina high school students may benefit some, but we could say that about many endeavors. Our times and economic situation require an educational system that develops proficiency and maximizes the bang for our buck. HB 901 will only add another layer on a curriculum that has grown unwieldy and fuzzy.
Let’s hope a majority of lawmakers also come to see the shortcomings of HB 901 and keep it from reaching the floor.