Senate committee punts on P.E. rule

The Senate Education Committee may vote Thursday on what has become one of the more contentious education rules of 2014: a complicated set of guidelines that includes new physical education requirements.

The committee discussed the rule Tuesday afternoon, but took no action.

The State Department of Education rule calls for 60 minutes of P.E. weekly in grade schools, and a 200-minute biweekly guideline in the middle schools.

The rule has no set guidelines for high school P.E., and students could receive one graduation credit for participating in varsity or club sports. The sole new requirement for high schoolers is a one-period training session in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Testimony was split on the idea, and many of the comments mirrored a House hearing on the proposal last week. Adrean Cavener, a lobbyist for the American Heart Association, pointed out that some 30 percent of Idaho students are overweight or obese. Caldwell school Superintendent Tim Rosandick lauded the intention, but said the rule could place more pressure on understaffed schools.

A House subcommittee has already recommended dropping the P.E. time requirements.

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