Letter to the Editor: P.E classes aren’t going to help me in the future

Hello, I’m Joe Morello, dean of Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance at Skyline College. The letter below is submitted by me on behalf of the faculty in our division. I’ll drop off an original tomorrow.

Dear Editor, I’m writing on behalf of the Kinesiology faculty at Skyline College regarding your editorial “P.E. classes aren’t going to help me in the future.” We beg to disagree with your headline and thesis in the editorial. One only needs to examine rates of obesity and associated health care related expenditures, estimated to be $190 billion a year, to understand the critical public health need for educationally based physical activity programs.

The fact is our activity requirement does not delay student completion and success rates in our courses are among the highest at Skyline College. We would encourage you to read our recently completed Kinesiology comprehensive program review to learn more about our program and the important part it plays on the Skyline College campus at http://www.skylinecollege.edu/comprehensiveprogramreview/submissions.php.

What is more troubling is your thesis seemed to question why there are any general education requirements? P.E. was a focus but you could have easily asked why intermediate algebra is a graduation requirement when I won’t use algebra? Why are [there] biological/physical sciences graduation requirements when my career path is not science based? You are proposing a theory of educational rationing.

Only education based on a specific need or desire is valuable. Anything else is a waste of time and resources. What you take, what you fail and succeed in, what you like or dislike are all formative experiences in education.

You mentioned a class about Roth IRA’s, tax preparation or 401(k)’s would have been more valuable than P.E. activity classes. Members of Skyline’s first graduating class in 1971 might have felt the same way. Yet, Roth IRA’s and 401(k)’s didn’t exist then and tax rules have changed radically. How did those students figure out how to build a retirement savings or file taxes? Simple. [They figured it out] from those formative educational experiences, including their P.E. requirement. They gained a broad range of knowledge, skills and abilities to adapt to an ever-changing world. That’s what education is all about.