Student exercise: Good idea, wrong approach

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Concern about childhood obesity is well placed. One in every seven high schoolers in West Virginia is listed as obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an effort to curb obesity, Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, wants to require schoolchildren engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes each school day.

Great idea. Wrong approach.

Where would schools get that time? A mandate for longer school days? Because right now, the Legislature and the state education bureaucracy have given teachers and county administrators so many mandates that it is hard to keep track of them.

This call would further micro-manage the 820 public schools in West Virginia from the floors of the state Senate and the House of Delegates. This proposal flies in the face of the conclusion of Public Works LLC, which conducted a $750,000 review of the state’s education system.

“We have encountered no other state that insulates its education system so much from gubernatorial — or voter — control; restricts local initiative so much on the part of districts . . . and vests so much authority for education at the state level,” the report said.

“It runs counter to most of the concern and thinking in educational reform today that individual initiative and accountability should be encouraged, while responsibility for education must ultimately come to a single point at the top of the pyramid.”

And yet, two years later, some legislators would further intrude upon the classroom and force teachers to wedge in another half-hour a day for activity…

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