The program makes physical education a requirement for allstudents in pre-kindergarten through middle school.
The board stopped short of requiring a minimum amount ofexercise. It recommended regular physical activity at least everyother day and suggested 2-1/2 hours for elementary school students and3 hours and 45 minutes for middle schoolers.
That averages to 30 minutes a day at elementary school, 45minutes a day at middle school.
Proponents, including state treasurer and board member RichardMoore, said the mandated PE time is needed to combat growingobesity rates and health problems among students.
"The context is one we cannot forget," Moore said. "This is aspecial concern" because healthy children learn better and livemore productive lives.
Board chairman Phil Kirk and Jane Norwood have said mandating acertain number of PE minutes wrongly takes away decision-makingpower from local school districts. Kirk said mandating a specificamount of PE time would take away time from core academic subjects,such as reading, writing and math.
Board member Wayne McDevitt said Wednesday that because studenthealth is such a critical issue, the state should assert somecontrol.
"Certain issues rise to the level where we should lead," hesaid.
A North Carolina Association of Educators survey found that aslim majority of teachers polled favor the PE mandates.
The survey, conducted after the PE proposals were introduced atthe board's December meeting, found that 76 teachers polledsupported minimum weekly PE time, and 64 opposed the idea.
The policy, which goes into affect for the 2006-2007 schoolyear, also requires each school district to create a school healthadvisory council to oversee the requirement.
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