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Really Want to Improve Education? Look at These Test Results

What if I told you that nearly two-thirds of California’s kids do not pass one of the most important tests in school? Find out how fit our kids are.

What if I told you that nearly two-thirds of California’s kids do not pass one of the most important tests in school? 

I hope you would ask: “Whoa, what’s going on here,” or something comparable.

Well, the results are in for the California Kids Physical Fitness tests for 2012.  

Only about 31 percent of students posted healthy scores in all six of the tested areas—for the second year in a row. 

Holding steady at this low level is not a good sign for the academic and physical health of our students.

According to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, “When we can call fewer than one out of three of our kids physically fit, we know we have a tremendous public health challenge on our hands. We owe it to California’s kids to give them more opportunities for exercise, along with better access to healthy foods and clean, fresh water.”

Study after study shows a clear link between fitness and academic success.  According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • “There is substantial evidence that physical activity can help improve academic achievement (including grades and standardized test scores).
  • The articles in this review suggest that physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.
  • Increasing or maintaining time dedicated to physical education may help, and does not appear to adversely impact, academic performance.”

Too many of our children are not receiving the physical education they need during the school day. This is the result of the increased emphasis on academic testing in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as well as severe education budget cuts in schools throughout the state.

There is some good news.

Local community and state efforts are helping to address this.

In San Francisco, for example, a private/public partnership Shape Up SF is working with the school district to support more physical education.

At the state level, Torlakson’s Team California for Healthy Kids initiative, engages celebrity athletes, community leaders, public health advocates, parents, teachers, and students in making healthy choices.

But if we are really serious about helping our schools and helping our children, providing quality physical education for all children at all schools must be a priority. 

And that requires funding to hire qualified teachers, provide professional development and make sure there is time in the school day at every school for physical education.

The California State PTA supports high-quality daily physical education for all children in kindergarten through grade 12.

For more health information from the PTA, check out PTA Health Tidbits. This includes health information, timely health announcements from government agencies and partners, events for the coming month, and grant opportunities.

You can find more information about the results of the fitness tests here.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

navigio December 01, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Please feel free to work to get a law passed that takes children away from parents who dont make them breakfast. Great idea! I can feel our country improving already!
Andrew Peceimer December 03, 2012 at 06:16 PM
After all the trillions of dollars going to help the poor for the last 50 years, how are we doing? I suggest you DO GOODERS look at the figurers. Let's just give the man more fish....no need to teach them how to fish or hold anyone accountable..How many people are now dependent on food stamps ...50 million..and counting. The best social progam according to President Reagan was a job....Not created by the Government.
navigio December 03, 2012 at 06:38 PM
For once we actually agree on something: TEACHING people is the key. But wait, earlier you said public education is a handout and should be done away with... so which is it?
Steve Hayes December 03, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Reducing spending is a reasonable goal. Under the Romney plan the $80 billion/year food stamp program would have been reduced but on the other hand Romney would have added $200 billion/year to defense spending. I do not see the savings.There are many forms of government handouts.
Andrew Peceimer December 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Navigio, if education is free ( meaning someone else pays) then what lesson are you teaching?...my daughter's frened said she got Obama money ( other people to pay) for about $500 to go to junior college for 6 months because she said she is poor. She said this as she was holding a new iphone and wearing $350 Ug Boots...get my drift?
navigio December 03, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I think reaction to anecdotal situations is a poor way to make decisions about public policy. Primarily because for every one of those 'horror-inducing' examples, its possible to generate a counter that shows why public education is actually a good idea, or even works as an investment (costing the taxpayers less money in the long run). Regardless, this idea that people who are poor must abstain from all consumer goods is problematic. It can be true that 'poverty' is really only relative (actually, by definition it is), but that doesnt change the impact it has on poeple. Even then, many of the goals of such policies are less to support people directly and more to try to stimulate the economy. An example might be subsidized child care. It allows dual-income households, which allows a state have a larger workforce, better compete in the marketplace and increase its tax revenues (and there are whole slew of other much more nuanced effects). Similar with unemployment insurance. Imagine had the economy not had the benefit of that additional income. I remember a story about a town in the south who simply decided to stop paying their retirees' pensions. About 10% of them promptly died as a result. Most of the rest eventually went bankrupt. They should have known better? Planned better? Gotten new jobs? I guess, but its not what happened. Good policy? Too bad?
Andrew Peceimer December 03, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Navigio, What is your deifinition of poor? I highly doubt your poor definition is lack of food, shelter and clothing. These days I find many of the Government Defiined Poor as having cable TV, three pairs of shoes, a car, and a cell phone. We have saftey nets for the poor...what we need is to motivate people to work now take a job they may not like while they continue to look for the ideal job. 2 years of unemployment is a disaster.
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt December 04, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I love all the rehashes of Reagan's "welfare queen" myth being perpetuated here. Yuppies are funny.
Andrew Peceimer December 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
John, Yuppies are funny? Are you being nice?....Can you define a yuppie?...is that someone who works and expects the same of others?
Diego Rose December 05, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I love how everyone has someone to blame. . . The dem's, the republican's, Obama, Reagan, socialism, ect. When are we as a country and as individuals, going to take some responsibility for our own lives. Our weight, our education, our foods, our taxes, our politicians, ect. If your fat, watch what you eat and work out!! If you don't wanna be fat that is! If your kids are getting dumb at public school, home school them, send them to a tutor, do something about your school. If you don't like paying the tax that you do, vote, often! Stop thinking that venting on the internet is going to do anything other than make you feel better. It is everyone's apathy that is killing this country!!! One person at a time. We have to remember what LIBERTY means!!!!! You are free to make changes. I suggest everyone get better at it or else you will have everything you never asked for.
Andrew Peceimer December 05, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Agreed Diego, so what have you done to be productive besides ranting on the internet?
Tommy Tee December 05, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I literally fell off my chair laughing when Andrew accused someone else of ranting!! lol He's really funny because he blames Obama for everything. He's the same guy that complained when people were blaming Bush on everything. By the way, his Repub buddies were a disgrace to all American vets with their shamfeul vote in the Senate yesterday. Zero respect for Bob Dole, John McCain and other fine Republicans. Andrew would also prefer that Hurricane Sandy victims fend for themselves, because hates "freebies." Merry Christmas, Andrew "Ebenezer Scrooge" Peceimer.
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt December 05, 2012 at 08:13 PM
If you have to ask, you're incapable of understanding :D Good luck out there, sport.
Andrew Peceimer December 06, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Tommy and John, You guys are funnny....are you unable to understand my humor and point? Diego was complaining about people ranting and not offering a solution. I responded by writing what was his solution? I never claimed not to rant on this site. Why should I rant and what is my solution? Simply, the goverment has to spend lesss money....3.5 trilion spent and 2.1 trillion in income...The future of this country is at stake...Also there is not enough money to simply tax the rich to close the deficit. http://www.federalbudget.com/ There needs to be spending cuts. If you guys ever ran a business or managed other's wealth your might understand this. An yes, I blame Bush, Obama, Congress and everyone else who is wreckless with other's money. It is clear you do not know me. What part of spendning less than one earns is wrong? My posts frequently mention this point. Yes, I believe that everyone should live within their means.
Andrew Peceimer December 06, 2012 at 06:55 PM
John, How long until your vile post is deleted?
Tommy Tee December 06, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Andrew--understood! Yes, you do provide solutions, whether or not I agree. I will give you that!
Jim C December 06, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I do not agree with everything Andrew posts. But I agree with this.
archie's bunker December 07, 2012 at 08:10 PM
@ Andrew. You either pay now, or for prison/health costs later. It really is an economic argument; you're just not seeing the long view.
Gregory Brittain December 08, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Don’t say we didn’t warn you, #17 Brown’s and the Dems’ tax increase is retroactive to January 1, 2012. Passage of Proposition 30 set off euphoria and expectations of higher spending for public employees. The California Teachers’ Association (CTA) trumpeted: ‘California students and working families won a clear victory today as voters clearly demonstrated their willingness to invest in our public schools and colleges and also rejected a deceptive ballot measure aimed at silencing educators, other workers and their unions.’” But, don’t spend the money quite yet. “California State Controller John Chiang has announced that total state revenue for the month of November 2012 fell $806.8 million, or 10.8%, below budget.” “Democrats thought they could hammer ‘the rich’ by convincing voters to pass Proposition 30 to create the highest state income tax in the nation. But it now appears that high income earners have already ‘voted with their feet’ by moving themselves and their businesses out of state, resulting in over $1 billion shortfall in corporate and income taxes last month and the beginning of a new financial crisis.” http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/12/07/CALIFORNIA-STATE-BUDGET-GOES-OFF-THE-CLIFF Let’s all watch and learn from the effects of CA having by far the highest state income tax rates in America.
denny rane December 15, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Is this surprising.? We have spent the last 4 decades dismantling Public Education. One BIG reason..... Take a look at that giant shit hole on Hwy 12 we call Travis AFB. The money wasted there, and all other Military Bases, would make the USA a world class country. But instead, we use THAT money for Global Imperialism, to capture the human and Earth bound resources that belong to the rest of the world. WE sowed the wind, now we can reap the whirl wind. God Bless
Gregory Brittain December 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Dear Mr. Rane: “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.” Ronald Reagan Let’s start with education. Government Education Spending and the Results Inflation adjusted per student education spending has ~quadrupled since 1960 and more than doubled since 1970. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_182.asp “Since 1980, inflation- adjusted tuition at public universities has tripled; at private universities it has more than doubled.” Are the universities spending the additional money in ways that make college education better, never mind 3X better? “Between 1975 and 2005, total spending by American higher educational institutions, stated in constant dollars, tripled, to more than $325 billion per year.” http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober_2011/features/administrators_ate_my_tuition031641.php
Gregory Brittain December 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
And what has happened to the quality of government run education? “Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshallcrotty/2012/03/26/7-signs-that-americas-educational-decline-is-jeopardizing-its-national-security/ “Among the Report’s findings are the following: 1. “The United States invests more in K-12 public education than many other developed countries, yet U.S. students remain poorly prepared to compete with global peers. According to the 2009 PISA, U.S. students ranked fourteenth in reading, twenty-fifth in math, and seventeenth in science compared to students in other developed countries.” 2. “More than 25 percent of U.S. students fail to graduate high school in four years; for Hispanic and and African-American students, the number approaches 40 percent.” 3. “Only 25% of U.S. students are proficient or better in civics, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.”
Gregory Brittain December 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
4. “According to a recent report by the not-for-profit testing organization, ACT, only 22 percent of U.S. high school students met “college ready” standards in all of their core subjects; these figures are even lower for Hispanic and African-American students. The College Board reported that even among the narrower cohort of college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards. This means that, upon graduating high school, more than 50% of college-bound students need to take remedial classes in one or more subjects, though a far lower percentage actually do.” In other words, after 13 years of government “education,” “50% of college-bound students need to take remedial classes.” 5. “Despite high U.S. unemployment, and far higher under-employment, major U.S. employers cannot find qualified American applicants to fill their job openings. For instance, 63% of aerospace and life science firms report shortages of qualified workers.” 6. “75% of U.S. citizens ages 17-24 cannot pass military entrance exams because they are not physically fit, have criminal records, or because they lack critical skills needed in modern warfare. In addition, 30% of those who do graduate high school still lack the basic math, science, and English competency to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.”
Gregory Brittain December 15, 2012 at 06:36 PM
In California, “CA public school teachers the highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.” http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/09/breaking-bad-california-vs-the-other-states/ The number of administrators at the UC and CSU systems has grown by 212% since 1993. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/05/can-california-be-fixed/
Gregory Brittain December 15, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Now let’s look at defense spending. As a % of GDP, defense spending has generally declined since 1950. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_defense_spending_by_GDP_percentage_1910_to_2007.png Your comment assumes America does not have and never had enemies and threats to her security and liberty so all the money spent on defense was wasted. Your comment repeats the Leftist slander that America is a bad imperialist empire. America liberates people it does not conquer and subjugate them as did empires throughout history. After WWII, America had the economic and military power to create an empire. For the first time in history that I am aware of, a nation turned down that opportunity. Many opposed the Iraq wars, but America never had any thought of making Iraq or Kuwait into American colonies. America and her foreign policy are not perfect, but America has done more to protect and advance human around the world than any country has, anytime, anywhere. As we are seeing and will see under Obama, as America and her power decline, the world will be less free and more dangerous.
denny rane December 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
You sorry sack of crap. How many Reactionary think tanks do you subscribe to.? Forbes magazine.? Next you will be telling us that YOUR statistics prove Drones are NOT murdering 100's of Mid East women and children. Only "militants"..... right.? Of course the USA MILITARY defines ALL males in the region, over the age of 14, to be SUBVERSIVES until proven otherwise. Dude, read a book that was NOT published by Rupert Murdoch, GE, Stalls, Rove Water, or some other Fortune 500 corporation. Better yet, take a gander at Das Kapital. Learn how to crawl before you walk. Then you can play with the big kids. God Bless.
EZDuzit December 16, 2012 at 01:48 AM
PE is the most important class? Seriously? If it is, then there's no wonder we are behind academically and play second fiddle to every country in Asia and Europe!
Gregory Brittain December 16, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Dear Mr. Rand: As typical for Lefties, you can't defend your positions outside your protected bubble so you quickly resort to name calling. My statistics and data prove my assertions. You cite no contrary info. The US military goes to great lengths to avoid killing innocent civilians when the terrorists hide among civilians. That you cite Karl Marx' book, Das Kapital, shows where you are coming from. At least you are honest about it. Most Lefties are not so honest. Marxism, communism, or whatever ism you want to call it has always lead to tyranny and poverty for most people in the country. They have killed tens of millions of people. The free enterprise system leads to the most prosperity and the most liberty for the most people. The record of history is crystal clear.
denny rane December 16, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Here is a fact for you Greg. Jesus Christ was the first well known commie. Why do you think the fokking Jews ratted him out to the Roam soldiers.? The USA Military goes to great lengths.? Did they tell you that in one of the press releases you call news papers.? Did you go yo school.? If so, you need to go back. BTW did you know the word naive is not in the dictionary.? Look it up. I am a proud citizen of the USA. I am sorry to say that its genocidal elite class is still breathing. But the USA had its day in the sun. The new power is already born. Send me an email, I will send you some news sources that are NOT U.S. State Department press releases. It will be GOOD for you to know the truth for the FIRST time in your life. Deir Yasin Gott Mit Uns God Bless ...
EZDuzit December 16, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Chris, I taught for thirty years. I never met one P.E.teacher who thought P.E. was more important than academics. It has it's place in a curriculum, but most important? No. I do agree that things like music, art, drama, auto technology and other shop and practical skills classes have their place in schools too. Sadly, they are the first to be cut when budgets shrink.

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