PE class as it is currently structured is not educational. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be included, it means it needs to be restructured. Part of taking a variety of non-core classes in high school is to give students an opportunity to learn about and experience different subjects in order to guide them towards a career path. You might take psychology as well as zoology and learn that you would make an excellent psychologist and a terrible veterinarian. The same goes for PE, if it is structured correctly.
I was very lucky to go to an excepionally high quality school in one of the best performing districts in the country. Our PE classes were not an assesment of how fast we could run a mile, they sought to teach us about different sports, activities, and exercises and to encourage us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What I learned was that softball absolutely sucks and I would never again choose to play it outside of a life or death scenario, but I also learned that I enjoy the heck out of individual sports instead of team ones. Key point being that I LEARNED something about myself that has helped me in various ways in the job world.
Now I am not unaware that poor and forgotten inner-city districts or rural districts may not have access or opportunity to have PE classes like I had, but that is not the fault of the class, it is a fault of the funding. We mustn't allow ourselves to blame and treat the symptom without first assessing the cause. Low-income families have the HIGHEST percentage of overweight children. Is it not these to whom we should be providing a class on the very many ways they can change that statistic? We constantly complain that kids don't play outside enough, but we are the ones who fail to provide them with ideas for what to do and the means to do it. Even a family on welfare can afford a secondhand tennis racket from the ARC and rig up a substitute net. When we don't provide children with information, ideas, and structure for healthy play, we are at fault, not them.
The ultimate goal of PE is, as pro stated, to reduce obesity and encourage physical fitness; but the problem doesn't lie with the existence of the class, and nor does the solution.
Students who participate in physical activity will learn better. They have better focus, concentration and learning ability.
Teenagers need to develop their physical bodies as well as their minds to become healthy, happy and successful adults.
As a teenager if you don't use you synaptic pathways in your brain they disappear forever. Doing sport will help maintain those synaptic pathways for life.
Obesity is a problem, but making kids 'get up' for barely an hour a day in high school doesn't mean it's going to solve. If kids don't want to do it, then they won't put any effort into it at all, making their gym class just a waste of time for them. This time they're wasting could be used for an extra class. Another thing, obesity is based mostly on human genetics. If PE could change their genetics, then great, let it be required. But it can't.
Just a better way to have healthy fun• Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among adults. About 60
million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese.
• Similarly since 1980, overweight rates have doubled among children and
tripled among adolescents – increasing the number of years they are
exposed to the health risks of obesity.
Fact: Obesity is already having an adverse impact on young people
• Type 2 diabetes – once believed to affect only adults – is now being
diagnosed among young people.
• In some communities almost half of the pediatric diabetes cases are type 2,
when in the past the total was close to zero. Although childhood-onset
Type 2 diabetes is still a rare condition, overweight children with this
disease are at risk of suffering the serious complications of diabetes as
adults, such as kidney disease, blindness, and amputations.
• Sixty-one percent of overweight 5- to10-year-olds already have at least
one risk factor for heart disease, and 26% have two or more risk factors.
Not everyone wants to do something that involves physical education in the future. High school is all about finding out who you are, and what you want to do for the future, which is why that's what they mainly study. But for the people that WANT to do something physical for the future, they can take the class. It should be optional.
The point of School is to provide education for children to be successful later in life.
PE, although it has "education" in its name and teaches children about physical activities, is not only uneducational (purpose is to learn about subjects such as literature, math, or history), but unhelpful. The goal of PE is to reduce obesity rates and get students physically fit, but they naturally find easy ways out of the excercise.