PE: A necessary class for a well-rounded education?


Chloe Levenson

Girls enjoy time to socialize with their peers during 5th period PE class.

The debate surrounding the necessity of PE in private and public schools is making headlines. A few years ago, our Editor in Chief Samatha Parr covered the topic in her opinion article, “
Physical education should not be a high school requirement.The pro-PE side argues that PE improves motor skills and increases muscle strength and endurance. On the other hand, the anti-PE side argues the class does little to improve physical fitness, causing students to think PE is unnecessary. As this debate becomes more widely known, AWHS students weigh in on the issue.

A vocal figure in the pro-PE movement is PHIT America, whose main goal is to get millions of inactive U.S. children to meet the CDC’s physical activity standard of one hour of exercise per day. 

Physical education is the most underappreciated and the most “powerful medicine for present and future health issues.” They believe that PE has many benefits including improved physical fitness, stress reduction, strengthened peer relationships, and more.

 Sophomore Damon Maldanato agrees with the pro-PE argument, saying that PE is crucial to his mental well-being. 

“I really like PE because it gives me a break from my other classes…. [PE] also gives me an opportunity to be active during the day and spend time with my friends,” Damon said. 

The main disadvantage of the PE program is the expense and maintenance of equipment and gyms. This is why some schools in the U.S. have decided to cut the program.

Students sitting in a circle during their 5th period PE class. (Chloe Levenson)

Sophomore Ally Greenwald sides with the anti-PE argument. Although she thinks the PE teachers at AWHS are exceptional instructors, she finds the class itself unnecessary.

“To be honest, I would rather have a free period or take another class during the time we have for PE each week,” Ally said. “Even though I think Mr. Parnow is great, all of the PE teachers are, the concept of PE is just not really necessary for high schoolers in my opinion.”

Studies have shown that PE adds to anxiety or depression levels in students due to intense focus on student health. Despite her opposition to the class, Ally disagrees with some of these results

“PE definitely doesn’t stress me out or cause any anxiety for me, it probably is my least stressful class… Sometimes PE actually helps with my stress because we are able to use it as a work period,” Ally said.

Wellness specialist Katrina Southard hasn’t noticed any mental health issues stemming from PE class.

“I haven’t noticed students coming into Wellness with PE-related anxiety, or at least no more than other courses on campus,” Southard said. 

AWHS health professional Mayalani Callaghan believes that PE is a vital class that should be required. She feels that PE positively impacts the health of students and provides knowledge about activities they may not know about otherwise.

“[When students are in PE class] they are exercising, learning how to do certain [athletic movements] correctly and engaging all of their muscles and abilities,” Callaghan said.

While some AWHS students believe P.E is unnecessary, others believe it is crucial to their mental and physical well-being.