The Instigator
Pro (for)
9 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

P.E. Should not be a required class in public schools

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,229 times Debate No: 28686
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)




When I was in high school, I put off taking P.E until the last moment. I was eventually forced to do it my senior year, and I can attest that it was the worst class I have ever taken. I wasn't in the best of shape, I never really have been to be honest and I didn't want to be graded on how well I could perform physical activity. Fortunately, a few of my friends were in the same position I was and were also in the class, so at least I wasn't by myself.

Our teacher was one of the athletic coaches and also a personal trainer on the side. I went to a small AAA school out in the country who had one of the best athletic programs in the state, not just in our class division either. We had won the state football game two time in the last eight years and just this past month we came in second for the 2012 state game.

Anyway our P.E. teacher was an athletic coach who had been stuck with teaching the class. It was obvious he didn't want to be there, that he would rather be with the athletics class that happened during the same period as ours. that's probably why we went out to walk the track most days, so he could talk with the head football coach as the team practiced.

After it began to get cold the class started taking place in the old gym. Our high school had two gyms, one less than the number of hallways in the main building. The school dated back to at least the 1960s and the old gym made that age very clear; being as apathetic as he was about the class, we didn't do much most days. We just sat in the bleachers and waited for the bell ring for second period, but for some reason about January out teacher decided he would make us do something, the problem was he didn't let us tread the frying pan, we were into the fire.

For some reason our P.E. teacher reasoned that kids who had never worked out before were capable of running suicides[1], lunging across the gym floor[2] and finishing off with few high knee sprints[3]. This went on for several days, while many in my class (myself included) complained of soreness and pain; I hadn't been able to walk up stairs since we had started these exercises, and few times I wasn't even able to use the bathroom because sitting on the toilet hurt so much.

However the biggest problem arose when I had gotten sick and informed the teacher I couldn't do it that day. I was extremely nauseous, and the fact my entire body hurt didn't help either. His response?

"Throwing up never hurt nobody, get back to it."

I supposed my body took that as a clue because in that moment I did exactly as he suggested and threw up in front of the entire class. It was humiliating, I felt fat and useless, the thought that I had four more months of that ahead of me killed me inside, but what's worse is that this story isn't just me.

Every year thousands of American students are told they aren't good enough, that they need to slim up and get to a 'normal body mass'. While that may or may not be the case, it is not the responsibility of the school system to tell them that. P.E. is not a class, and it doesn't do anything to change a student's exercise habits[4], it simply wastes time and works as a justification so as to afford paying full time athletic team coaches.

This will be the sole contention of the Pro in this debate; that P.E. violates the privacy and free choice of students across the United States by forcing them to take a class which neither carries an academic benefit and even imposes lifestyle changes on them which they should not be required to endure.
I encourage the voters to interpret this debate under a standard of comparative advantage and look forward to debate!



Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. About one out of six children and adolescents ages six to 19 are obese.1 As these children grow older, they have a much greater
for daily, quality physical education in our nation"s schools to give children a healthy head start on life.
" Unfortunately, even obese pre-schoolers, are
risk than their healthy weight peers of developing and 2
dyingfromchronicdiseasesinadulthood. Some
showing some of the biomarkers related to 13
experts claim that by 2015, 75% of adults will be 3,4
cardiovascular risk.
" A recent study showed that the plaque buildup in
overweight with 41% obese. One important way to stop this rise in obesity and chronic disease in our children is by establishing lifelong physical activity habits with strong physical education programs and regular physical activity opportunities throughout the day in our nation"s schools.
Children must be physically active at school and learn about keeping healthy through exercise and a balanced diet. Regular physical activity is associated with a healthier, longer life and lower risk of CVD,
the neck arteries of obese children is similar to
those levels seen in middle-aged adults.
" Along with rising obesity rates, the rate of prescription drug use by children for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol is
" Other research suggests that regular participation
in physical education classes helps reduce obesity in low-income teenagers who are disproportionally affected by the childhood
16 obesity epidemic.
" A recent nationwide survey of school principals showed that kids are more likely to get the recommended amount of recess and physical education if they live in states or districts with policies that call for more of those types of activity.14
" Sedentary lifestyles are linked to 23% of all U.S.
high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and some 5
cancers. If the lessons of lifetime physical activity and healthy food and beverage choices are modeled at both school and home, children will have the
optimal foundation for healthy living.
shows that healthy children learn more effectively 7
andachievemoreacademically. Unfortunately, many schools are cutting back on traditional physical education programs because of budgetary concerns and competing academic demands.8
Beyond the impact on chronic disease, physical inactivity and obesity place a significant burden on our society. Nearly 17% of U.S. medical costs are attributed to the treatment of obesity9 and estimates for treatment of childhood obesity are approximately $14.3 billion.10 Obesity and lack of physical fitness in America"s youth also affect our national security. Senior former military leaders report that 27% of young Americans are too overweight to serve in the military.11 Around 15,000 potential recruits fail their physicals every year because they are too heavy.12 The American Heart Association strongly advocates
" Children"s physical activity level drops
ACTIVE CHILDREN THRIVE ACADEMICALLY AND SOCIALLY Physically active children are more likely to thrive academically and socially. Through effective physical education, children learn how to incorporate safe and healthy activities into their lives. Physical education is an integral part of developing the "whole" child for success in social settings and the learning environment.
" Evidence suggests that physical activity has a positive impact on cognitive ability, avoiding tobacco
deaths from major chronic diseases.
dramatically between the ages of 9 and 15.
American Heart Association 􏰀 Advocacy Department 􏰀 1150 Connecticut Ave. NW 􏰀 Suite 300 􏰀 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 785-7900 􏰀 Fax: (202) 785-7950 􏰀
Debate Round No. 1


I want to thank my opponent for his swift acceptance and response!
This will be my second time debating RichardDong, and I look forward to the opportunity

I will first refute my opponent's arguments and as time allows extend upon my own.

First and foremost the nature of my opponent's advocacy must be addressed. In 2008 Dr. Edwards, director of forensics at Baylor University, published a book endorsed by the national forensics league and the NFHS in which he presents the necessary steps in writing an argument; concerning the Toulmin method, the most common format of writing an argument, he writes that "Occasionally a debater will present data without offering either a warrant or a claim -- the debater simply presents an "interesting fact." ... This data may well be accurate, but it doesn't lead anywhere. There is no argument unless the data is connected to a claim through a warrant.[5]"
My opponent's arguments as of last round most certainly contain data, but the nature of that data is unsubstantial as it has no clear claim nor does it have a warrant which links the data to the claim.

My opponent's round 1 does not stand to refute the resolution, it simply makes the claim that childhood obesity is a problem and assumes the P.E. can, and will, solve this problem. The argument is fundamentally flawed and should not be accounted for. The reason being (as I have already provided evidence to show) is the P.E. has not been proven to change the exercise habits of students[4]. Furthermore these classes do not account for all students[4] as the teachers are typically athletic coaches who couldn't care less about the class; it ends up being a waste of the students time all while still managing to embarrass them.

Beyond that, Con fails to address my sole point of contention, that while obesity may indeed be a problem it is not the school's place intercede. By allowing parental responsibility to leave the hands of the parents and be given to the school, we fail to instill these values and concepts into the children in the first place.

It is the job of the parents to instill into their children life long values that concern health and exercise, not the job of the school.

Beyond that, there are still a number of alternatives to leading a healthy lifestyle that precludes mandatory PE. The most immediate one is obvious, elective PE classes would still if you vote for the Pro; I argue to remove it's mandatory status, not to remove it completely from schools.
Also included in these alternatives are; Sports teams, exercise at home or even just taking an occasional stroll around the block. The health benefits of PE are not unique to taking the class, but the express violations of privacy and free choice are -- it is not the place of the school to control a student's life or personal choices about how they take care of their body. It is the job of the school to educate students; at the point PE does not fulfill the obligation is is a harm and should not be required of any student to take.

And if a student want to make proactive use of their exercise time, they could volunteer at any manner of shelter or community service project and exercise while they move boxes, serve meals and clean rooms[6].

In conclusion, PE violates a students rights to privacy and free choice, are mostly useless due to poor instruction and apathy from instructors and don't offer unique benefits to students they they couldn't get somewhere else.

Vote Pro!

[5] Edwards, Richard Earl. Chapter 2: Making Sense of the Argument. Competitive Debate: The Official Guide. New York: Alpha, 2008. 17. Print.



students should be required to take a physical education course. Learning to use your body to participate in individual and team sports is another aspect of education. Public schools in particular should take care to make time for this type of physical education, as it is another part of the socialization process that we rely on from public schools. Whether or not students are successful at the course could be based on effort.
With obesity at nearly 50% in some areas, the need for physical education should not be a question. It should not be a class where sports are promoted, but a true class that would teach all students that there is exercise that will fit into their 'game plan'. All students should be compelled to participate. The class should be comprised of physical training or introduction to various exercise regimes and class time where the importance of physical activity would be enforced.
I totally agree that phys ed should be a daily requirement at school. MCPS doesn't have daily phys ed (at the elementary school level at least), and I think they should. Physical health and growth is just as important as educational growth. Unfortunately, with all the competing priorities that schools have to face, phys ed will remain at the bottom until we're at a crisis point with the state of our country's health.
The school years are the most formative time for a person. This is when they develop lifelong skills that can help mold the person they will become. Requiring them to take physical education will allow them to interact with their peers and get valuable social skills that they will need in the future. Also it will get them started on a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent major illnesses in the future.
Debate Round No. 2


The argument of school responsibility versus parental responsibility still stands; I never deny that obesity is a problem, in fact I offer several alternatives to PE which my opponent never addresses. Students could just as easily take a walk around the block, do a few chores around the house or even volunteer at a local shelter for those in need. P.E. is not the end all for physical activity and it even takes time away from the regular school day where someone could better spend their time preparing for academic success.

Beyond that, my opponent's arguments that PE should exist, but as a class where exercise exists that fits within the student's 'game plan' is not a realistic refutation. This idea of a PE class does not exist within the status quo[7] except at optional secondary education. Realistically PE classes are a waste of time because of the commitment of the faculty and the emphasis on the program, as the cited reporter from MSNBC tells us, the focus on winning instead of health that exists as basically a constant across the United States kills the legitimacy of the program. The reformed PE classes the my opponent advocates does not exist and therefore is not a legitimate refutation of the resolution.

Finally even though my opponent wants to tout the effectiveness of Physical education in combating obesity, every study cited claims that it does not work[8]. The goals set for physical education are unrealistic and stem from the desire for a school to interfere with a student's life; the very thing I claim is such a bad thing in my initial constructive. Even if kids did a few pushups in class or ran around the track, it would not impact their overall lifestyle as students are influences more by the actions of their parents than anything else when it comes to their lifestyle[9].

All of this stated, I move back to the argument of personal privacy and right to choose. This has not been refuted throughout the course of this debate and still carries a significant impact. Con hasn't even bothered to address this argument, whereas I've been able to show the health benefits of PE that my opponent asserts are neither present nor a unique benefit to PE.Con has failed to justify the violation of students' rights that exist when forced into a program that focuses on changing the student's body; PE is not an academic benefit.
No health impacts are relevant in this debate as they don not stand to refute the issue of personal privacy.

Vote Pro!


Illinois is the only state that requires a physical education class every school day from kindergarten through high school. Government officials may believe retaining this PE class will help the obesity rate of Illinois go down.Humans are naturally lazy. f you don't believe look around your school.Physical education has come a long way from simple strength tests. Instead of climbing ropes, doing "X" number of push-ups or pull-ups, or running impossibly long distances, there is jogging, basic health/nutrition facts, aerobics, games that are actually fun, and much, much more. In most cases, there is also the driver's education and sex education segment.

Where else are schools supposed to fit that in your schedule? Lunch?

People may not like it, but these things are here for a reason. It's only better to start good habits earlier rather than later, so why stop now? A class that is meant to teach students the importance of maintaining good personal health and pass along healthy habits on exercising and eating -- just like those commercials and shows you see on TV, except now you're actually accomplishing something!
Debate Round No. 3


Con has failed to refute the argument of parental responsibility and student's choice. These have been voting issues for the Pro this entire round, and Con hasn't even attempted to refute them. Instead he continues to argue that this class is a necessity for students, but fails to provide a warrant as to why the alternatives I suggest exist are nonviable as an alternative to PE classes.

What this means in the scope of this debate round, is that Con has failed to fulfill his burden of clash; as the contender to Pro's proposition Con has the express burden to clash with Pro's arguments. At the point that he fails to do this there is no reason that the vote should be given to him in this debate.

On the other hand I not only fulfill my burden of proof as the instigator of this debate, but I provide all of the clash in the round; I show that PE classes do not fulfill their designated purpose, I show a myriad of alternative to exercise and I show that Con's advocacy does not represent PE in the public school system

At the point that a class does not fulfill it's intended purpose, violates a student's right to privacy and free choice and wastes time in a students schedule (which my opponent openly admits is important) there is not reason that it should be a required class.

I thank you all for reading, I thank my opponent for the debate and I urge a vote for the Pro!


richarddong forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by drafterman 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: F.F. Con failed to refute the argument of parental responsibility and student's choice.