To the editor: The L.A. Times editorial board is right to point out that state Department of Education should look beyond the tests and look at the physical fitness programs for public school students.
Right now, elementary students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (and I assume others) are not required to have their physical fitness lessons taught by a certified physical education teacher. Instead the schools rely on elementary school teachers, with no training in PE, to teach children how to pitch a baseball or dribble a basketball.
For children with parents who are skilled in physical fitness, developing certain abilities may not be an issue. But if children are not gaining these skills and experiences at home, it’s no wonder that by the time they get to middle school, they have decided that these activities are not valuable to them.
By all means, we should incorporate more noncompetitive activities into PE, but these activities should start when children are young and still developing their interests and skills — and they should be taught by qualified PE teachers.
Beth Holloway, Woodland Hills
To the editor: I agree the Department of Education should be taking a “much deeper look at physical fitness programs and not just focusing on the tests.” I administered these tests to thousands of students during my 30-plus years as a middle school PE teacher.
It is my hope that the Department of Education, school boards and local district administrators can learn something from Kobe Bryant — that the journey is more important than the destination.
Being active every day, encouraging physical activity in all parts of the school curriculum and striving to be the best you can be are just as important as the results of your work.
Chris Cornell, La Crescenta