Eight periods a day. Seven slots for classes. Five core academic subjects. That seems to leave plenty of time for electives and free periods. But maybe not. One of the best aspects of our school is its variety of courses, but athletes have easier access because they don’t have to take physical education during academic periods.
The athletic department requires each student to complete six trimesters of physical education throughout the four years of high school. Athletes easily fulfill the requirement by playing on sports teams after school, but non-athletes must take physical education classes during the day.
These P.E. classes take up time in students’ schedules that could be spent in classes that genuinely interest them.
Although it is unintentional, the policy punishes non-athletes by taking away the academic flexibility that our school prides itself on. Everyone should have the same opportunity to fulfill the physical education requirement after school. This could be accomplished by giving students credit for exercising on their own outside of Harvard-Westlake.
However, we understand administrators’ desire to keep fitness tied to campus life, so as a compromise, we should offer physical education after school.
P.E. teachers should hold classes like yoga or aerobics or let students sign in with a coach and exercise on workout machines. Just as sports teams practice after school, workout classes should be offered after the academic day so both athletes and non-athletes have the same amount of time during the day to devote to classes.
Physical education is not the problem. We appreciate the purpose of the requirement and applaud our school’s emphasis on health and fitness.
It is the policy, not the idea behind it, that is problematic because it makes exercise interfere with being a student.
Athletes get the full day to pack with courses, so let’s extend the same right to everyone.